Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Can Dementia Be Prevented?

Let's start with the good news. Among Americans, only one out of eight develop any form of dementia by the age of 65. By 80, four out of seven are still dementia free. Nevertheless, dementia and the related cognitive impairment and short term memory loss, can be devastating to both the person who suffers from it as well as to friends and loved ones.

When I speak of dementia, I mean all types of dementia, including the most common called Alzheimer's and the second most common called vascular or multi-infarct dementia. For a good video review of the the entire topic of dementia and it's prevention based on lifestyle changes, please see my five-part youtube video lecture that starts at

Since giving this lecture back in 2011, the preponderance of evidence I have come across supports the relationship between lifestyle and the development of dementia  However, there were two recent studies worthy of careful consideration. The first, which I wrote about in my blog titled "If You Jump Up and Down After Reading Today's Blog, You May Actually Remember It When You Get Older!,"which can be found at, identifies the correlation between physical fitness and dementia prevention. Exercise is undoubtedly the number one best known strategy to delay or prevent the onset of cognitive impairment. It's better than intellectual stimulation and all the drugs and supplements on the market today. Move!

What about diet? Well, a new study just came out, prompting today's blog that demonstrates the relationship between what you eat and what develops in your cerobro-spinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that encases the brain and spinal canal.  In this study, people fed a low fat, low carb diet were found to have the lowest levels of beta-amyloid, a peptide (smaller than protein) most scientists believe (some believe it's a protein called tau and others think it may be something else entirely) is responsible for the development of Alzheimer's. Although this study was not conducted long enough to offer definitive evidence that a diet that decreases levels of beta-amyloid in the CSF results in lower rates of dementia, I think it still merits close attention because it supports the strengthening assertion that what you eat affects the long term health of not only the rest of your body, but your brain as well.

With the preponderance of evidence showing that what you eat has a profound impact on your chances of living a longer, healthier, pain-free life, or dying prematurely from cancer, heart disease, etc, isn't it seriously worth rethinking the foods you eat?

The short list remains the same. Avoid processed sugar based products, saturated fats, and trans fats, and consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains, and wild Alaskan Salmon.

1 comment:

  1. Dementia is a part of the clinical presentation in Alzheimer's disease. It is a silent killer. A clear idea about it is important at least for early diagnosis.

    Dementia Clinic