submitted by Linda Baldwin; photo by Mary Ellen O’Brien
We learned from Dr. Nathaniel Chin that lifestyle factors have a great deal to do with forestalling or preventing cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). And positive change takes place no matter your age… if you do physical exercise, eat better foods, lower stress in your life and sleep better.
Dr. Chin is the Director of Medical Services for Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He reminds us that thinking changes normally as we age. We learn at a slower rate; our recall is slower and more challenging and we have less cognitive flexibility. So those senior moments are pretty normal.
In some, normal aging gives way to mild cognitive impairment and then to dementia due to AD or other diseases. Through research, there’s been a shift in the definition of AD. It had been diagnosed through clinical symptoms, but now changes in the brain (biological differences) create the condition of AD. Tangles and plaques begin to form in the brain…sometimes without symptoms.
Research is now looking at modifiable risk factors that may impact the course of the disease. So, if you exercise regularly, modify your diet to be healthier, reduce stress, sleep well, engage in social activity; in all engaging in a healthier lifestyle…the trajectory from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s Disease may be slowed and potentially halted regardless of genetic predictors.
Good news…better living through science.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.