Healthy cognitive ageing includes:
All of the above will help prevent dementia, delay dementia and even prevent mild cognitive impairment from progressing to dementia.
Diabetes is a risk factor for dementia as the brain is starved of glucose, so if you have diabetes it is important to be extra vigilant in eating a healthy diet and keeping fit. Your diet may include medium-chain triglycerides by taking MCT oil, coconut oil or both which will provide the brain with the same energy as glucose would.
Another factor to consider is maintaining a healthy heart with a normal blood pressure reading by managing stress, including regular, moderate physical activity, limiting alcohol, and eating healthy. Low or high blood pressure is related to cognitive decline.
As well known, the hallmark of Neurocognitive Disorder due to Alzheimer's Disease is caused by neurofibrillary tangles that wrap themselves around the neuron causing the neuron to die and the brain to shrink. Moreover, the amyloid (a variety of different proteins) plaques that form between the neurons are mostly found in the gray matter of the neocortex, the hippocampus and the basal ganglia, thalamus, cerebellum and some in the hemispheric white matter. Self aggregating peptides that form in the plaques are b-peptide or amyloid peptide. This peptide is joined to a much larger protein called Amyloid b-protein precursor (APP). Interestingly the extracellular plaques containing amyloid can be found in older people who don't have an impairment causing disagreement to the consensus that APP is in fact a cause of Alzheimer's disease.
Another arguement as to the cause of Alzheimer's disease is the heart, brain and mind connection. Researchers have said that to prevent a stroke will help prevent dementia (not only Alzheimer's). Dr de la Torre, MD PhD, study led him to believe that Alzheimer's disease is a vascular disorder of the brain of older people caused by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion leading to neurodegenerative damage, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's and then death.
Cerebral hypoperfusion means that there is insufficient blood flow to the cerebral cortex of the brain, which is the hallmark of the incidence of stroke. Incidentally, Alzheimer's disease risk factors (e.g., smoking, obesity, physical inactivity) also tend to reduce blood flow to the brain. As reduced blood flow to the brain will lead to cognitive decline and then Alzheimers, the APP deposition is then not the cause of Alzheimer's but the pathological product.
The findings that low blood flow is the cause of Alzheimer's means that more accurate tools such as brain neuroimaging (e.g., positron emission tomography) that measure blood flow to the brain can help identify at risk patients of Alzheimer's disease. The patient can also measure their heart with a noninvasive ultrasound to identify blood flow through the heart chambers and valves together with psychometric testing (e.g., Memory Alteration Test and Mini-Mental State Examination) to measure cognitive functioning.
Stroke prevention clinics in America are already helping patients identify if they are at risk of a stroke and also work with them to prevent the onset of a stroke. Research identifying the cause and risk factors of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia will also help discover who is at risk and how to prevent its onset.
With this in mind, it is important to take care of your heart, to take care of your brain and mind in order to prevent the onset of stroke and dementia.
Josephine will update you with the latest and relevant research and discussions about mental health for adults, children and young people as well as money & behaviour, parenting strategies and learning