The Alzheimer’s Association has estimated Alzheimer’s disease will more than double in the next 40 years. Currently 5.1 million American’s suffer from Alzheimer’s, but 13.5 million people are expected to have the disease by 2050. This will increase medical costs to more than $20 trillion.
What can be done to prevent cognitive decline?
Reduce Abdominal Fat
Your belly affects your brain? It may seem like an odd connection, but a recent study found that obesity lowered total brain volume in healthy middle-aged individuals. Lower total brain volume is linked to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. Published in the Annals of Neurology journal, researchers recruited over 700 middle-aged subjects. The findings suggested that insulin resistance and BMI did not correlate to dementia, but visceral abdominal fat was significantly related.
Listen to Music
According to researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, Alzheimer’s patients can remember verbal information significantly better when it is set to music. Alzheimer’s patients and healthy older adults were recruited to listen to spoken words or words set to music. The results indicated Alzheimer’s patients were more accurate on memory tests when the words were set to music. Healthy older adults did not have any significant benefits from listening to musical words. It was concluded that Alzheimer’s patients had significant memory improvements because music improved brain processes that function at a slower rate when Alzheimer’s is present.
Drink Blueberry Juice
Blueberries are loaded with health promoting phytochemicals, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols and anthocyanins can slow memory function by increasing cognitive signals and assisting glucose metabolism in the brain. Researchers found that individuals with memory decline showed significant improvement in learning and memory tests when they consumed 2 ½ cups of blueberry juice every day for 12 weeks.
Alzheimer’s News 5/19/10. Report: Alzheimer’s disease to cost United States $20 trillion over next 40 years. Retrieved on May 20, 2010 from http://alz.org/news_and_events_19623.asp
Debette S, Beiser A, Hoffman U, et al. Visceral fat is associated with lower brain volume in healthy middle-aged adults. Annals of Neurology. Published online early. May 20, 2010.
Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA, et al. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. J Agric Food Chem. 2010, 58(7):3996-4000.
Simmons-Stern NR, Budson AE, Ally BA. Music as a memory enhancer in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia. Published online early. May 7, 2010.