There is no cure. There is no one medicine or thing you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s they say. While true, there are some factors that can potentially reduce the onset or incidence of the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, according to a recent small study.
In the study, 44 men and women who had mild memory issues underwent an experimental PET scan to look at levels of plaques and tangles in their brains. Plaques, which are deposits of a toxic protein called beta-amyloid between nerve cells in the brain, and tangles which are knotted threads of tau protein within brain cells, are considered key indicators of Alzheimer’s. They also looked at specific lifestyle factors such as body mass index, physical activity levels and whether the subjects followed a healthy, Mediterranean diet.
The results indicated each of these lifestyle factors was associated with lower levels of the Alzheimer’s type plaques and tangles. While scientists have been confirming and reconfirming this for years, this positively shows the impact of these lifestyle factors in the brain even earlier in life than previously thought.
The takeaway here is:
- Maintain a healthy Body Mass Index: a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. (source: NIH) For a quick calculation of yours see this link. If you do #2 and #3 below, typically a healthy BMI is the result.
- Eat a healthy diet with more fish, fruits and vegetables than red meat or processed foods. A Mediterranean diet is recommended for overall heart and brain wellness. (The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, beans (legumes), and fish and low in meat and dairy with mild to moderate alcohol consumption.)
- Move your body! Keep physically fit and move every day with some form of cardiovascular exercise.
These are not new revelations, however we don’t always respond to the tried and true recommendations. We often desire a quick fix or the latest trend. The answer isn’t a magical or immediate cure, but we can change our habits to help our future selves.
This study again confirms all we teach and advise our clients in depth at MemoryMinders. There are things we can do to prevent Alzheimer’s and this study shows it needs to happen before we notice memory changes. Do your future brain a favor, eat healthy, exercise and maintain a healthy weight to potentially avoid Alzheimer’s!
Journal Reference: David A. Merrill et al, “Modifiable Risk Factors and Brain Positron Emission Tomography Measures of Amyloid and Tau in Nondemented Adults with Memory Complaints” The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, September 2016.