Is This Bad Economy a Good Thing?

July 30, 2009

Crazy right, how could there be a silver lining in the economy cloud?  Well if you are a little older in age and this economy has forced you to rethink retiring, it may be saving your brain.

There is a promising study out of Britain that studied  medical records of 382 men whose Alzheimer’s symptoms emerged around age 75. They found that, all other factors being equal, the symptoms were delayed about seven weeks for each extra year the men worked.

It is very perplexing as to why certain people stay mentally sharp and others aren’t.  There is some thought that people posses a trait called cognitive reserve.  The reserve refers to the brains ability to cope with damage.  The more damage, the greater the chance of Alzheimer’s.   The theory is the more you expose yourself to mentally challenging activities, things like; education, work, and volunteering, the more reserve you build.  The more reserve you have the better the chance you have off fending off memory loss and dementia.

Unfortunately there is not easy answer as to how much is the right amount.

If you are looking to keep active here are some great choices:

  • Volunteer.  There are so many organizations that need your time.  This is a win win.  You help out a worthy organization and keep your brain charged up.  Get more information here…http://www.volunteermatch.org/
  • Get a pet.  Especially if you are alone.  There are a lot of studies out that show having someone to care for at home will help with fighting dementia.
  • Work part time.  There are companies out there that would love to have a reliable, nice person working for them

What does not appear to have any benefit are the brain exercise products, often sold as computer based games.  A Rhode Island company, reviewed all of the existing trials on such products and concluded in a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia this spring that loss of memory was not helped with these products.

Shameless plug.  There is some talk that better blood flow to the brain equates to a lower chance of getting a certain type of Alzheimer’s.  Chiropractors improve the bio mechanics in the neck area, thus improving blood flow to that region.  Is this a cure, most definitely not.  Is there a chance it could help….we’ll see.

The one thing that everyone can agree on…get and stay active.  Use it or lose it does not apply only to muscles, it appears to also do the brain a lot of good.

What are you or a loved one doing to stay active?  Please comment below.

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DHA or Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Alzheimer’s

July 13, 2009

The most complete study to date done on Omega 3 Fatty Acids (DHA) and the hope that it would slow Alzheimer’s has shown there is little help to be gained by taking the popular supplement.

In this study a group of people were given a placebo, with another group getting  a two gram dose of fatty acid every day. After 18 months the results showed no difference in the two groups.

If you are getting older in age and are worried about getting Alzheimer’s there is some evidence that a drink or two a day might help you fend off this terrible disease.  Experts at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina examined and interviewed 3,069 people aged 75 or older.  What they found was the light drinkers were 40% less likely to get Alzheimer’s when compared to the people who did not imbibe at all.

The study did point out that drinking more than that wiped out all benefits, so please don’t order that keg of Chablis just yet.

There is also a promising study out that states DHA may help people who are just starting to get a little forgetful, let’s call it pre-Alzheimer’s.  If you are starting to get forgetful, taking these supplements may improve your memory.  One of the researchers noted it would be like having the memory of someone 3 years younger.

The key distinction here is if the person already has Alzheimer’s.


Bummer About Ginkgo

November 19, 2008

In case you missed the news today, it has been widely reported that a study on Ginkgo Boloba and Alzheimers (AZ) did not turn out as favorably as hoped.  It had been hoped that by taking GB, you could prevent or delay the dementia that is associated with AZ.

3069 people had participated in the trial.  Just about 1/2 were given GB and 1/2 were given a placebo.  Neither the people or the doctors doing the testing knew who was taking what.  A double blind study, as explained prior, and the number of participants lends a lot of credibility to the study.

There is some question if the study followed the exact GB protocols.

As with any study, one does not mean anything is cast in stone.  There is another study going on in France with 2800 participants.  I think it is safe to say the GB community is certainly looking forward to a favorable report.