Today, I’m going to talk about Alzheimer’s. What we can do to prevent it ..which is the important thing!
As you know, I’ve just been lecturing at the SAND conference in California, and one of my co-lecturers was Dr. Rudolph Tanzi. He is a professor at Harvard University in Neurology and he got his professorship because of the work he’d done in Alzheimer’s. He said to us before his lecture, “after listening to this, you will know more than anyone else in the world about Alzheimer’s because I know everyone else!” So, I can’t wait to share this information with you.
Unfortunately, 50% of us are going to have this disease once we’re 80. So, unfortunate as life expectancy is now in the eighties. It’s a disease of short term memory loss caused by ‘plaques and tangles’: gooey-like gunk in the brain that stops the nerve cells communicating..
~ age, the older we get, the more likely it is
~ family history, a close relative having it
~ being a woman, more common in women
~ stroke or violence/trauma to the brain such as an accident or a car crash.
~ emotional trauma which is interesting because of course emotions are related to memory. For instance, almost everyone remembers where they were at 9/11 or after a major financial crash. So, the emotions impact the memory .
The other factors that he found that would prevent Alzheimer’s are interesting. Remember, he’s a Professor of Neurology, so we’re talking about what’s been tried and tested to prevent Alzheimer’s. This is not guess work.
- Healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet
- Moderate exercise
- Good sleep. Eight hours of quality sleep.
Patients with Alzheimer’s have terrible sleep wake cycles. The reason for this is two fold: the brain uses delta wave sleep (the deep sleep cycle) to rebuild pathways and reduce the presence of amyloid, which is thought to block neuropathways effecting communication.
Secondly, memory is changed from short term memory to long term memory during deep sleep cycles, so it will get stored in the ‘hard drive ‘ of the brain.
- De-stress – anything that will allow you to reduce the impact stress has on your body, such as yoga or meditation
- Learning new things to build up your connections in the brain. However puzzles do not work; this has been studied. Things like learning a new skill or language help improve the elasticity of the brain, allowing it to rebuild itself
Alzheimer’s is an incredibly scary disease. Without short term memory, it’s difficult to maintain a sense of self or identify and connect to events in our lives. Thankfully research is being done every day, and there is hope.
I hope this was of help.