Promising Alzheimer’s disease research shows we have some control to reduce our risk. Neurologist and author Dr. Marie Pasinski on why this study matters to you, patients and those touched by Alzheimer’s …
New research shows you may have more control than you think over whether you fall victim to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that about half of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are potentially changeable, which means a shift in your lifestyle could reduce your risk. Factors that increase one’s risk for Alzheimer’s that you have control to fix include: diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, sedentary behavior, depression and low educational level.
In the United States physical inactivity accounts for 21 percent of the risk for Alzheimer’s, followed by depression and smoking. This may mean many Americans could reduce their risk on their own.
We reached out to Dr. Marie Pasinski, a world-class neurologist and author of Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You:Look Radiant from the Inside Out by Empowering Your Mind, to get her thoughts on this stunning new research.
“This is important research with a very empowering message. It supports the idea that the way we use our brain and care for our brain can reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is empowering to realize that the lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis may well determine our likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
“As a neurologist, I care for many patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, these patients are brought in to their appointments by their children or family members who are absolutely petrified that they, too, will develop dementia. For years I’ve been taking these family members aside to encourage them to do everything they can to keep their brain healthy and reduce their risk of dementia. Similarly, I care for patients with memory problems due to strokes, traumatic brain injuries and a variety of other neurologic conditions. For these patients, it is crucial that they too do everything they can to protect their brain. It is wonderful to have this well researched study by Professor Barnes and Dr. Yaffe to reinforce the potential effect that simple lifestyle modifications can have on our brain – which clearly is our most important organ.
“As I tell my patients – ‘nothing will have a greater impact on the quality of your life than having a healthy brain.’
“The study looked at seven potentially modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s, including: diabetes, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, smoking, depression, cognitive inactivity, low educational attainment and physical inactivity. Of these, physical inactivity was the most significant potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease in the United States and the third largest worldwide. This may be due to the fact that physical inactivity is associated with diabetes, hypertension and obesity, which in and of themselves are also risk factors for dementia. All of these conditions (diabetes, hypertension and obesity) are associated with atherosclerosis which results in diminished blood flow to the brain.
“In addition, numerous other studies support the idea that physical activity which increases blood flow to the brain, appears to directly boost brain function and enhance brain structure. I am a huge proponent of the brain benefits of exercise and believe it is one of the most important things we can do to keep our brain healthy, vibrant and more resilient to dementia.
“This study is also a reminder that it’s never too early to start thinking about brain health. It suggests that midlife obesity and midlife hypertension are significant risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. While it is never too late to make brain enhancing lifestyle changes, the earlier we start the better.”
For more from Dr. Marie Pasinski on genConnect:
- 5 Signs of a Stroke That Can Save a Life, By Dr. Marie Pasinski
- Reporter Serene Branson Talks About On-Air Grammy Scare
- Coffee for Stroke Prevention?
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