Today's Post: Monday, 11-16-2009
We’ve posted several times on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and “age onset” vascular senility. We’ll review those briefly at the end. But there are 3 new ones that are of interest.
1. You’re doing the first one now!
In case you’ve not yet seen it, there is a health news article that has been so popular it’s been featured for four weeks titled: “Web Surf to Save Your Aging Brain” that was originally in Health Day News on Yahoo online health on Monday, 10-19, 2009.
It seems that researchers found older adults who started browsing the Web achieved improved brain function after just a few days.
The researcher, Dr. Gary Small, from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said that when they studied people who had little Internet experience who began surfing the web, after just a week,” “there was a much greater extent of activity particularly in the areas of the brain that make decisions, the thinking brain -- which makes sense because, when you're searching online, you're making a lot of decisions," he said. "It's interactive." “
Since our brains literally add new interconnections when you learn new things and more of those make our brains more able to keep functioning effectively even when sections are damaged, that quite literally means that people who learn new information from the internet are also getting extra brain development and protection from senility. (Other studies have found that college educated people, people who regularly solve puzzles or play chess or cards, and people who speak two or more languages get far less senility from this same effect.)
2. Do strength training.
Last Monday, 11-9, Reuter’s Health had this headline:
“More muscle power means lower Alzheimer's risk”
Older people with stronger muscles are at reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease & for lower risk of fading mental function short of or as an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease
Researcher Dr. Patricia A. Boyle published the work she and her team did in the November, 2009 issue of the Annals of Neurology. (aka: Archives of Neurology, November 2009.)
They tested the strength of nearly 1,000 men and women in their breathing muscles, arms and legs. The people ranged from 54 to100 & averaged 80
During their 4 year follow up a bit less than a seventh of the people developed Alzheimer's disease.
Even after they adjusted for age and education level-which can influence the development of senility, the muscle strength they measured had a strong influence on the risk of the disease. Those in the top 10 percent for strength were 61 % less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than the weakest 10 percent. And, the stronger people also had less decline in their mental abilities in that 4 years even if they didn’t get Alzheimer’s disease.
(Other studies have found people with above average grip strength live longer.)
The article did mention the possibility that mental decline might have cause the weakness or some third factor might have caused both the mental decline AND the weakness rather than any strength exercising being the only cause.
And, there ARE some things that are in both categories that you can find.
But, since people who get exercise regularly of any kind tend to be at least somewhat stronger than people who get none and have MUCH better circulation, people who get some kind of strength training definitely have better circulation than people who do not. And poor circulation helps cause BOTH Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. So, strength exercise does in this way prevent mental decline and increase strength.
Even more important, we now know that exercise causes your body to build new brain cells. Further, strength training and interval cardio cause more growth hormone release than less vigorous exercise. This one is likely the biggest cause of this effect.
So, in conclusion, things that weaken you or your nerves may cause both muscle weakness and mental decline; but it’s virtually certain that people who do regular exercise, particularly strength training will have less mental decline.
3. If you’ve read this post long enough, you’ve seen our occasional posts that people who brush and floss well every day – and see their dentist every 6 to 12 months for teeth cleaning and any needed repairs will get less bad breath, be healthier, live longer, and research shows a good bit less likely to get a heart attack than people who don’t. They’ll also keep their teeth instead of having to pay for expensive gum disease treatments and false teeth.
Now it seems there is evidence that the vascular inflammation you prevent by taking proper care of your teeth and gums also helps prevent mental decline.
Last Thursday, 11-12-2009 Reuters Health had a story with this title:
“Trouble thinking? Better see the dentist."
They found a study showing that regular brushing, flossing, & trips to the dentist will likely help older people keep their thinking skills intact.
Researchers found that people 60 and older with the highest amount of gum disease bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, were three times more likely to have trouble recalling a three-word group of words.
They were also two times more likely to fail three-digit reverse subtraction tests.
People with the lowest levels of this gum disease causing bacteria did much better in the tests than the people with the most.
The article said that previous research has established a strong association between poor care of your teeth and guns and: heart disease, stroke and diabetes, AND Alzheimer's disease.
Their study found lower mental skills even in people who had not yet developed Alzheimer's disease who had not done well taking care of their teeth and gums.
(The article was in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, November 2009.)
So, each day at least once, I prefer just after breakfast each day, brush your teeth thoroughly, top and bottom at least 3 ways, the biting surfaces first, then all the way round top and bottom right at the gumline; then all the way round top and bottom just above the gum line. (I get best results doing the at the gumline step twice.)
Notice that most of the work involves some brushing of your gums. That’s because good gum health is the biggest key to preventing over-growth of this harmful bacteria and keeping your teeth!
Then, as a last step, floss in between all your teeth all the way round top and bottom, I do that twice.
And, in my gum check ups at the dentist, since I’ve adopted this system, I consistently get OK to great readings on my gums. Before, I was developing some not OK places. Not anymore though.
Here’s a short list of the other things that help prevent senility and Alzheimer’s disease.
a) There’s some evidence that taking 2,000 iu or more of vitamin D3 and a turmeric or turmeric derived, curcumin supplement daily each independently help your immune system clear the amyloid plaque in your brain before it causes damage. They apparently help your macrophages eat up and move the stuff. Since each of these supplements also have other health benefits and vitamin D3 is inexpensive, this is a great step to take.
b) Anything you do that prevents damage to your circulation or helps prevent heart disease also helps prevent both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Many of our posts are on how to do just exactly that – and do it effectively without needing to use statin drugs as well.
Eating right, regular exercise, and supplements such as niacin and sterol supplements can go a long way towards doing this. Even better, you can get your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides – and HSCRP inflammation tested to see that these practices are moving you into the desirable zone.
Secondly, it’s extremely important to get your fasting glucose tested and your average for the past two or three months, the HBA1C, tested also. You need to keep your fasting glucose under 100 and under 90 is better. And, you need to keep your HBA1C at 5.9 or better such as 5.7 or less. Above 120 & 6.0 you can get diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes, worse as the numbers get higher than that, it starts to destroy your capillaries all over your body, including your brain and some research even suggests it directly triggers Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating right, particularly cutting WAY back on sugar and no longer eating ANY refined grains plus being sure to get regular vigorous exercise with progressive strength training and interval cardio and taking the supplement alpha lipoic acid, 200 mg a day, and 200 mcg a day of chromium polynicotinate, and 400 to 600 mg of magnesium all help to keep your blood sugar where it should be.
c) Socializing regularly also helps. It lowers stress levels usually and we now know is far more mentally challenging than you might believe. It just seems easy because you get so much practice.