In the fight against Alzheimer’s we have different ways to protect brain health and delay dementia. These include regular aerobic exercise, eating a low-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean or MIND diet, treating conditions that harm the brain such as diabetes and hypertension, staying socially active, achieving higher education, and being a life-long learner.
This year’s Facts and Figures report from the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.8 million Americans are living with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease–a number expected to grow steeply in coming decades as Baby Boomers age. The report also lists and defines the stages of Alzheimer’s disease, one of which might be unfamiliar to you.
It’s that time of year again – back to school! For most of us in the United States, receiving a formal education is assumed. Some of us even continue to achieve advanced degrees, and go on to hold cognitively challenging jobs. But we can’t stop after we walk across the stage to receive our diploma. Lifelong learning – and the kind of highly educated lifestyle that comes with it – is good for the brain! Not only can education increase our likelihood of higher living standards (less stress, better quality food and better quality of life), it also decreases our likelihood of developing dementia as we age.
One question we often hear from patients is related to genetic testing for “the Alzheimer’s gene.” I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little about genes, genetic testing and Alzheimer’s.
It’s that time of year when kids go back to school, summer vacations end and projects at work begin with renewed vigor. And, it’s a great time to talk about learning, education and the brain!
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