Do you have the Alzheimer’s gene? One side of my family is rife with Alzheimer’s, and the other loaded with long lived people who are sharp as a tack. I don’t know if I want to know which end of the gene pool I’m swimming in, but I pay rapt attention to everything that has anything to do with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, a leading geriatric neurologist, published a book in 2008 outlining a number of substances or practices that may help delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Some of his recommendations include: dietary habits which restrict saturated fats and increase the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, green tea and resveratrol. Blueberries were praised as one of the best antioxidants and a source of resveratrol as well. Red wine and peanuts also contain resveratrol, although limiting alcohol consumption is another strong recommendation.
Other suggestions which may help include managing cholesterol levels, exercising both the body and the brain, taking supplements of Folic Acid, and including the spice curcumin (turmeric) in the diet. (The Alzheimer’s Answer).
While it is not positively proven that these suggestions will delay OR prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, they are strategies which are generally beneficial to overall physical health. I’ve been drinking a turmeric tea for a few years now, and often add the spice to casseroles and soups. (To make the tea I just sprinkle a bit of the spice in hot water with a few drops of lemon juice.)
In the area of brain exercise, now comes a new study from Canada that indicates that bi-lingual persons may have a delayed onset of Alzheimer’s Disease when compared with those who speak only one language. The Ross Memory Clinic at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care studied 200 people with Alzheimer’s diagnoses. They found that with those who were bi-lingual, the diagnosis came 4.3 years later, and symptoms of the disease appeared five years later than with those who spoke one language. (Science Daily)
The human brain and its function are a puzzle, often referred to as the last frontier. Sometimes it is hard to make sense of all of these findings with regard to Alzheimer’s Disease. All I know is that I have seen it rob people I love of almost everything that matters to them. Making a few dietary changes and continuing to challenge the brain aren’t such difficult endeavors. And now, it seems, I may finally be tackling that new language that I’ve always thought about learning. I’ve dabbled in French. Now the big decision remains: Mandarin Chinese or Spanish?
Sources: The Alzheimer’s Answer, Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., Copyright 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-04494-0