Blogs

Alzheimer’s disease and prevention

  • Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia and is the most frequent neurodegenerative disorders. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Although, in most cases, it is diagnosed somewhere in the mid-60s, in a small number of cases it may be diagnosed much earlier. It is also the 6th leading cause of death in the US1.

    It is a disease characterized by progressive memory loss, changes in mood and personality. With time a person becomes wholly dependent on others. Due to the debilitating nature of the conditions, there are high healthcare costs involved. People with Alzheimer’s have a much shorter lifespan when compared to their healthy peers.

    Alzheimer’s like many other neurodegenerative diseases is characterized by2:

    • Progressive death of brain cells and loss of mental abilities
    • The disease is caused due to misfolding of specific proteins (amyloid and tau) that results in high oxidative stress and cell death
    • Therapy or drugs are primarily supportive, none of the modern medicines can stop progress though some may slow down a bit

    One of the most significant challenges in Alzheimer’s is the early detection. By the time people are diagnosed, precious time is lost. Disease process starts years if not decades before the diagnosis. Thus early recognition of the disease may help to slow down the progression.

    Some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s are:

    • Difficulty in remembering, concentrating, solving problems, though such issues are often confused with natural ageing
    • Confusion regarding time and place
    • Difficulty in doing basic tasks at home that are not much demanding physically and mentally
    • Difficulty in reading or understanding visual clues
    • Difficulty in speaking or having trouble participating in conversations
    • Losing important things
    • Lack of proper judgment
    • Withdrawal from social life
    • Mood and personality changes

    These are some of the most common early symptoms, and it is vital not to confuse them with age-related mental issues. In Alzheimer’s, these issues would show progressive nature. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are several safe and natural methods that have been proven to slow down the disease process. Some of these ways may improve quality of life for years and help a person to stay independent for longer.

    Physical exercise- mild to moderate aerobic exercise is the best way for disease prevention or slow down its progress. As per some estimates 150 minutes of exercise in a week, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as half. The best way is to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week, which is also good for the heart and prevention of metabolic diseases. Strength exercises and training to improve balance (like Tai Chi or Yoga) may also help3.

    Healthy diet- cutting down on trans fats and saturated fats, enjoying more of the Mediterranean diet may help. The brain is high in fat content as compared to the rest of the body, thus important is not cutting down on fats instead of consuming high-quality Hence, eat more of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is the best source of omega fatty acids4.

    Exercise your brain- as we age, exercising brain is as essential as muscles. Thus read more often, solve puzzles, get involved in social groups, find other mental activities to keep your mind busy5.

    Physical and mental exercises along with well-planned physical activities are the best way to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s. Apart from them, one may also consider the supplements, other treatment modalities. Alzheimer’s is still a poorly understood disease, but what is known that each case differs. Thus if something did not work for others, does not necessarily means that it would not work for you.

    References

    1. Alzheimer’s Association. Latest Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures. Latest Facts & Figures Report | Alzheimer’s Association. https//alz.org/facts/overview.asp. Published 2018. Accessed March 20, 2018.
    2. Rowinska-Zyrek M, Salerno M, Kozlowski H. Neurodegenerative diseases – Understanding their molecular bases and progress in the development of potential treatments. Coord Chem Rev. 2015;284:298-312. doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2014.03.026
    3. Hötting K, Röder B. Beneficial effects of physical exercise on neuroplasticity and cognition. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013;37(9 Pt B):2243-2257. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.04.005
    4. Dyall SC, Michael-Titus AT. Neurological benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Neuromolecular Med. 2008;10(4):219-235. doi:10.1007/s12017-008-8036-z
    5. Hall CB, Lipton RB, Sliwinski M, Katz MJ, Derby CA, Verghese J. Cognitive activities delay onset of memory decline in persons who develop dementia. Neurology. 2009;73(5):356-361. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181b04ae3

Recent Blogs

  • Influence of the internet on children

    Posted 18 hours ago

    In the past twenty years, internet usage has increased rapidly amongst children. More than two-thirds of eight-year old’s go online every day, according to study by the nonprofit Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Because of this, I'd like to talk about the influence of the...

  • Secret financial solutions for students during the pandemic

    Posted Jul 9

    The world is facing a global health challenge, which is affecting every sector in each country. While this common virus, coronavirus, affects our daily activities and social life, many industries and countries are preparing for a worldwide economic crisis. This financia...

  • Business model: A roadmap to a successful business plan

    Posted Jun 15

    Background Some experts think that the phrase “business model” is being used to mean so many fuzzy and half-baked business plans nowadays because of the advent of the Internet. They believe that all it takes, these days, is to have some web-based business m...

  • School resumption: Updates, risks and safety measures for parents and their wards

    Posted Jun 13

    Effect of the COVID-19 virus on education  Ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 from China, it has been affecting the world economy and financial institutions. A couple of weeks after the outbreak, Covid-19 started affecting the educational systems worldwide. It le...

View All

Random Blogs

  • Historical development of the law of torts in Nigeria

    Posted Jan 19

    John Wigmore once said that ‘every institute and principle of law has a philosophy – as every object in the Sun has its attendant inseparable shadow.” We cannot possibly talk about the law generally without discussing the law of torts. The law of tort...

  • The plight of a Nigerian job seeker

    Posted September 8, 2018

    Looking for a job in Nigeria is like looking for water on cocoyam leaves; you virtually can’t get it! Job opportunity is almost non-existent. My man, the Nigerian job seeker is here. A government job is his choice. Sure? Good. At least he’s got a choice. Bu...

  • Making the most of a new year: Tips and hacks

    Posted December 28, 2018

    We have heard it all before: how a new year is like a blank sheet and one must make the most of it. I believed this so much that I used to wash all my dirty clothes on the 30th or 31st of December; it was my way of starting the New Year on a clean slate. As time we...

  • The importance of consent in biomedical research

    Posted November 10, 2019

    Consent is such a simple word. Two syllables, easy pronunciation; but every day we struggle to find new ways to educate people on its meaning. How exhausting! Consent, as defined by law, means voluntary agreement. In Biomedical Research, the definition is no different. ...

View All