Continuing your education is one way to prevent Alzheimer's disease and other age-related memory loss according to Jean Carper in her book, "100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss." Using Google, engaging in strenuous mental activity, and practicing meditation also help. The power of lifelong learning continues to amaze me. Here are 10 of Carper's 100 simple things you can do to prevent Alzheimer's.
I'll show you 10 of Jean Carper's 100 simple things you can do to prevent Alzheimer's and age-related memory loss, but in her book with the same name, you'll find lots more. Carper says she's baffled by media coverage of a report from non-Alzheimer's experts convened by the National Institutes of Health. They claimed there is no reliable evidence that Alzheimer's can be slowed or prevented. Carper begs to differ. A leading authority on health and nutrition, Carper is the author of 24 books and hundreds of articles. She also has the Alzheimer's gene.
Carper's ideas are so healthy and simple it makes sense to practice them whether or not they work. They certainly can't hurt!
Buy her book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's
Education, strenuous mental activity, stimulating language --- all help your brain create what Dr. David Bennett of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center calls "cognitive reserve."
Carper advocates "a rich accummulation of life experiences," saying this is what creates cognitive reserve.
So hurray for continuing education! Keep learning. Live longer. Prevent Alzheimer's.
3. Search the Internet
Carper quotes Gary Small of UCLA as saying that conducting an online search for one hour a day can "stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book."
As an avid reader and Googler, I find that hard to believe, but so be it. Whether you use Google, Bing, or any other search engine, onward with your searching! It's engaging your brain and keeping Alzheimer's at bay.
4. Grow New Brain Cells and Keep Them Alive
It turns out it really is possible to grow new brain cells, according to Carper --- thousands of them every day. One of her 100 simple ways to prevent Alzheimer's is exercising, both your body and your brain.
Carper says the tricks to keeping newborn brain cells alive are "aerobic exercise (30 minutes per day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking, and vitamin B deficiency."
Andrew Newberg of the University o Pennsylvania School of Medicine says meditating for 12 minutes a day for two months improves blood flow and thinking in seniors with memory problems, according to Carper. She says brain scans show "that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage --- a classic sign of Alzheimer's --- as they age."
Meditation is one of the great secrets in life. If you're not already someone who meditates, give yourself a gift and learn how. You'll relieve stress, study better, and wonder how you ever got along without it.
6. Drink Coffee
A study in Europe now shows that drinking three to five cups of java a day in your midlife years can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by 65% later in life. Carper quotes researcher Gary Arendash of the University of Florida as saying that caffeine "reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains.
Other researchers, Carper says, credit antioxidants.
Who cares? If coffee is good for the brain, I'll take a mocha, no whip.
7. Drink Apple Juice
If coffee isn't your thing, maybe apple juice is. According to Carper, apple juice pushes production of the "memory chemical" acetylcholine. Dr. Thomas Shea of the University of Massachusetts says it works the same way the Alzheimer's drug Aricept works.
All it takes is 16 ounces or two to three apples a day, Carper says.
You know I couldn't help but say it: an apple a day keeps Alzheimer's away.
8. Protect Your Head
This seems like a no-brainer, something your mother taught you, but watching America's Funniest Videos, it's pretty easy to realize that not everyone gets this idea. Protect your head, especially when you're doing stupid things like those seen on AFV.
Alzheimer's is four times more common in seniors who suffered a head injury early in life, according to Carper. When seniors bump their heads late in life, it can take only five years for Alzheimer's to show up afterward. That's pretty astounding.
Even more astonishing is the statistic that pro football players develop memory-related diseases 19 times more often than is typical.
Protect your head.
9. Avoid Infection
Carper calls new evidence that ties Alzheimer's to various infections "astonishing." She lists cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia, and the flu as examples of the kind of infections implicated.
Worst of all is the common cold sore. Dr. Ruth Itzhaki of the University of Manchester in England "estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer's cases." The theory, Carper says, is that "infections trigger excessive beta amyloid "gunk" that kills brain cells."
Gum disease also sends damaging bacteria to the brain. So floss your teeth, avoid infections of any kind, and when you do get them, get them under control as quickly as possible.
10. Take Vitamin D
Carper cites a study by the University of Exeter in England that found that a "severe deficiency" of vitamin D can increase the risk of cognitive impairment by an astounding 394%.
From Cathy Wong, About.com's Guide to Alternative Medicine:
"Vitamin D occurs naturally in certain types of fish, such as herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines, and in egg yolks. Milk is fortified with vitamin D. Some juice products, breakfast cereals, and other foods may also be fortified with vitamin D."
Of course, supplements also are available.