A packed audience sat enthralled as Emeritus Professor A. David Smith (University of Oxford, UK) spoke of his research into novel treatments and techniques for Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.
Then came this question from the audience:
“Can we prevent Alzheimer’s?”
“Yes, we can!” was Prof. Smith’s resounding reply.
Prof. A. David Smith’s recommendations:
- Stop smoking
- 30 minutes of brisk exercise each day (enough to get you puffing and sweating)
- If you have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, take drugs that effectively treat these
- Increase the Mediterranean elements of your diet, especially your 5+ a day of fruit and vegetables
- Eat fish once or more a week
- Watch your blood glucose
- Make sure your vitamin D and B12 status is good
- If you do have memory problems, get your homocysteine checked.
If it’s high, take B vitamins in consultation with your GP
- Keep mentally and socially active
Prof. Smith cited, (among others), the Caerphilly Cohort Study Read the full study
Twenty-five years ago, 2,235 men between the ages of 45 and 59 agreed to take part in a longitudinal study. They were tested again in 2013.
The group who had adopted these healthy behaviours:
- Consuming more than 3 portions of fruit / vegetables a day
- Consuming less than 30% of calories as fat
- Taking daily exercise
- Drinking less than 3 units of alcohol per day
had a 64% lower risk of dementia.
It’s as simple as that!
Is Alzheimer’s inherited?
When asked if Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by our genes, Prof. Smith dispelled that myth.
‘Less than 1% of dementia cases are entirely genetic’.
About 20% of the population have common gene mutations (called susceptibility genes) which may slightly increase the risk of developing dementia, but in 99% of all cases, dementia does not have genetic causes.
Most common risk factors for dementia are NOT genetic. Here they are:
- Mid-life high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity
- Low social activity
- Physical inactivity
- Low education
- Diabetes and high blood sugar
- Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids
- High blood homocysteine (due to low levels of B vitamins)
Here’s the best news! Dementia CAN be prevented.
Read more: The original study and the BBC article: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-29820916
What’s the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions that affect how well our brains work.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease – which around two-thirds of people with dementia have.
The symptoms each person experiences depends on the parts of the brain that are affected. However, the most common dementia symptoms include changes in memory, thinking, behaviour, personality and emotions. These changes affect a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks and interfere with their everyday lives.
More reading: Why does Alzheimer’s affect people differently? Is it Alzheimer’s? When Children become Parents
Alzheimer’s Association website
Thank you for this information, I have often wondered as my mother in law is in a rest home and she has Alzheimers but is 98 years old. My husband and I have often talked about her situation. She is well in herself eats well but is in a world of her own which is very sad, so it is good to read some information about the illness, especially from someone who has the correct info. Thanks again
Thanks for this information Gillian and Allison. Its good to know about this disease even at present no one in my immediate family suffers from it. Thanks for the points on how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, I will need to increase my daily physical activity!!
Thank you Gillian and Allison. I needed to read the Professors comments. My memory has taken a definite step backward after doing rather well following the Memory course. My age is part of the problem I realise but notice about the Memory tuning course has got me thinking I have a stab at that.
Just let me know when you are ready, Mary. You were a ray of sunshine in the Brain Fit for Life class and you did SO well! Keep up those brain challenges every day.
Reading this has been such a huge help. I am 83 tears old and do have problems with some memory loss, particularly names of people, plants etc. But was most encouraged to read that my eating and exercise habits fit in well within your parameters so I can relax and enjoy my life now.
I will certainly pass this on to others.
Thank you again this has been so helpful and so encouraging.
Thank you for this information, my maternal grandmother, aunt and uncle died early with Alzheimers, my grandmother at 72 which is my age now and it has always been in my mind, particularly when I forget things, that I could have inherited this from my mother’s family. A great relief to see the real facts from an expert
Yes, it’s really important that families realise there is such a minimal chance of Alzheimer’s being inherited. So sad for the people who are in the 1-2% of those who are diagnosed with dementia, but wonderful news for the other 90+ percentage who will NOT develop this condition.
Always good to be reminded of the things that we should/must do.
Ignore the distractions generated by events that we cannot change, and get on with all things that really matter.
I couldn’t agree with you more, John. It is never too late to make positive changes in the lifestyle factors that matter.