Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 10/24/2011
Jean Carper, former CNN medical correspondent and syndicated "EatSmart" columnist, has written a new book:  100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss, available here:

After doing extensive research about the subject Carper makes the following recommendations.  You'll find some of them pretty surprising:

Drink coffee
. In an abrupt about-face about the subject, coffee is being touted as the new brain tonic. According to a recent European study, drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer's risk 65 percent in later life. Lesson:  Unless your doctor advises otherwise, caffeinate!  

Floss. Researchers at the University of Southern California have found that the health of teeth and gums is a predictor of dementia.  Specifically, having periodontal disease before age 35 quadruples the odds of dementia later.  
Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show.

Google. UCLA's Dr. Small has used brain MRIs to measure brain stimulation, concluding that an online search is better for this than reading a book.  Small found that novice Internet surfers ages 55 to 78 activated key memory and learning centers in the brain within a week of Web surfing for a mere hour daily.  

Grow new brain cells. "Impossible," scientists used to say.  Now, they believe that thousands of brain cells are born every day.  Aerobic exercise--brisk 30-minute walks, eating salmon and other fatty fish, avoiding obesity, and the like--are good for the new cells.  

Drink apple juice.
Apple juice helps to produce a memory chemical, with results similar to the popular Alzheimer's drug Aricept, according to Dr. Thomas Shea, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts.  Shea found that old mice given apple juice
did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received only water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.

Protect your head. Blows to the head--even mild ones early in life--increase odds of dementia years later. Perhaps not surprisingly, pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Columbia University researchers found that Alzheimer's is four times more common in elderly who’ve suffer a head injury.  

Meditate. Regular meditation reduces cognitive decline and brain shrinkage as we age.  Yoga meditation 12 minutes a day for two months has found to improve blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.

Take D3. A "severe" deficiency of vitamin D3 boosts older Americans' risk of
cognitive impairment nearly 400 percent.  Most of us 
lack D3. Experts recommend a daily dose of 1,000 IU to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3.

Fill your brain. It
's called "cognitive reserve." A rich accumulation of life experiences--education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities--make your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles.  Researchers have found that we can even have significant Alzheimer's pathology and no symptoms of dementia if we have high cognitive reserve
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