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Alzheimer's Disease

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Plant-based Diets Lower Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

High meat diets tend to be linked to more dementia.

A 10-country study of the per capita supply of meat and other animal products (not milk) demonstrated that the higher the supply in the 5 years before diagnosis the higher the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This was correlative and could not pinpoint cause and effect. The authors suggest it might be saturated fat or the copper and iron that is more readily absorbable from meat in contrast to plant-based foods.

PositiveTip: Choose plant-based foods like vegetables, fruit and whole grains to lower your risk of dementia.

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Depression Predictor of Alzheimers?

Brain tissue buildup associated with depression may predict Alzheimer's diagnosis later.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. There is little to be done for treatment so prevention is key. Researchers know that a buildup of the brain protein beta-amyloid is predictive of Alzheimer's. When comparing depressed and non-depressed patients amongst 371 people, researchers found that patients classified with severe depression had a 15% increase in beta-amyloid buildup.

PositiveTip: Invest in mental health for yourself and your loved ones. Social support, counseling and learning coping skills will improve your quality of life.

Press Release. Journal Article.

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Alzheimer's Self Tests

Experts: online self-tests for Alzheimer's don't work.

A panel of experts reviewed 16 of the most popular, freely available online tests for Alzheimer's disease. Conclusion: these tests are not useful for diagnosis with little or no scientific validity. All reviewed sites demonstrated poor ethical standards and failed to reveal commercial conflicts of interest. Relying on these could potentially be harmful.

PositiveTip: If you suspect the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, see your physician and request a consult with an expert.

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Move It or Lose It

Staying on the move every day slows cognitive decline.

A recent study shows that the most active older adults are 2.3 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease (AD) during a 3.5 year follow-up than the least active group. In this study, a group of 716 people with an average age of 82 wore an actigraph for 10 continous days. This small sensor recorded all participants' exercise, including activities like cooking, house cleaning, and moving a wheelchair with their arms. Combined with self-reported data, these results showed that the highly active group experienced the best outcomes.

PositiveTip: Keep moving! Total daily activity may reduce the risk of AD at any age!

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Big Benefits From Walking

Just a little regular walking cuts Alzheimer's risk in half.

At the latest Radiological Society of North America meetings, researchers reported that walking just under a mile a day could cut your risk of Alzheimer's disease in half. People who walked also preserved more brain volume in the areas related to memory. These cognitive-protecting benefits are likely a result of exercise improving blood flow to the brain.

PositiveTip: Moderate walking is a cheap and easy way to keep your brain healthy! 

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Omega-3 Supplements Do Little to Slow Cognitive Decline

Contrary to popular opinion, omega-3 supplements did not slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer patients.

A randomized trial gave either a placebo or 2 grams a day of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to about 400 adults with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer Disease (AD) for 18 months. At the end of treatment there was no difference between the groups, showing that these supplements did not slow the rate of cognitive decline. 

PositiveTip: DHA supplementation probably results in little improvement among patients with AD.

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Break a Sweat to Stave Off Dementia

Reduce the risk of dementia by engaging in moderate to heavy exercise regularly.

In the longest study of its kind, researchers have found that moderate to heavy exercise reduced the risk of developing any kind of dementia by 40%. This 20 year follow-up from the Framingham Study also demonstrated that those who reported the lowest levels of activity were 45% more likely to develop dementia. 

PositiveTip: To lower your risk of developing dementia, engage in at least moderate physical activity on a regular basis!

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Alzheimer's Protection from Dietary Vitamin E

Eating foods with plenty of Vitamin E seems to lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Vitamin E is back in the spotlight, following dashed hopes that supplementing with this nutrient would result in many health benefits.

A new prospective Dutch study has found that those who consumed the most dietary Vitamin E at the beginning of the study experienced 25% less dementia and Alzheimer's Disease during almost 10 years of follow-up. Dietary sources of Vitamin E were primarily were primarily vegetable oils, margarine, butter and mayonnaise.

PositiveTip: A dietary pattern that includes healthy oils may substantially reduce your risk of dementia later in life.

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Cell Phone Use and Alzheimer's Disease

Cell phone use might actually help prevent Alzheimer's disease! Really?

The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease has reported that researchers exposed normal mice and mice genetically bred to develop Alzheimer's disease (AD) to electromagnetic fields (EMF) at frequencies equivalent to cell phones for 2 hours each day. After 7-9 months those mice exposed to the EMF were actually protected against cognitive impairment, and  AD-like symptoms were reversed in the mice predisposed to AD. Improved cognitive performance was measured in the normal mice, too. 

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Mid-life Marital Status and Cognitive Function in Later Life

Being widowed from mid-life onwards is associated with a significantly greater risk of dementia!

People living in a relationship with a partner in mid-life (average age 50.4) were less likely than those single, separated, or widowed to develop cognitive impairment later in life. This new research also found that those widowed both at mid-life and later life had a significantly higher chance of being cognitively impaired compared to those who were married. 

PositiveTip: Living in a relationship with a partner probably provides cognitive and social challenges that protect against cognitive impairments later in life!