Getting Alzheimer’s disease is not inevitable with age. In a recent TED talk, Dr. Lisa Genova, neuroscientist, Massachusetts native and author of several books including Still Alice shared five ways you can avoid cognitive impairment.
You likely know the first four.
1. Get a good night’s sleep;
2. Follow the Mediterranean diet;
3. Exercise several times a week; aerobic exercise is best with strength training to enable fitness; and,
4. Lower your stress levels through prayer, yoga, or meditation.
What often surprises people is the fifth preventative: Learn something new. Exercising your brain through new experiences builds synaptic capacity. Lisa referred to the now famous Nun Study, research that followed the lives of 678 nuns who generously agreed to allow their brains to be autopsied upon their passing at ages 75 to 107. To their surprise, the researchers found that several nuns’ brains had the telltale Alzheimer’s lesions yet these women displayed no evidence of cognitive impairment while alive. Why? Their brains had ample capacity because of a lifetime of learning.
Watch the video. Share this post with your friends and family. Then join me in learning a new language using an app like Duolingo. Au revoir und auf wiedersehen.
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As May and June fill with family gatherings – weddings and graduations, Memorial Day barbecues and days lingering on a ball field or attending a school performance or recital – I am mindful of the delicious brain-healthy food we served preceding a recent talk I gave with Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, one of our country’s experts on nutrition and cognition. I knew that Nancy and I would become fast friends when she told me to eat dark chocolate daily. As you plan your Memorial Day barbecue, you may find a tempting recipe on Dr. Lombardo’s website by clicking here.
Researchers know that nutrition plays a key role in both the prevention of and the delay of the onset of disease, including Alzheimer’s disease. In July, Boston will be hosting the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on July 13-18, 2013 at the Westin on Boston’s waterfront. If you have a loved one living with dementia and you are in town, you may want to register for the one-day program about Dementia Care, presented in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH. This is a unique opportunity to learn from international care experts. Here is the link to the program.
Enjoy your holiday and do pass along one of Nancy’s delicious recipes to your family and friends.