Apr 9, 2008
By: Alvaro Fernandez
We just received these two very thought-provoking essays on Alzheimer’s Disease and brain health, as part of a writing workshop, led by Susan Hill in Lakeland, Florida, with a group of grade 9-11 homeschoolers.
Without further ado, here you are both Essays:
Essay A. Preventing Alzheimer’s at Work
— By Josh H
5,000,000: that is the number of people in the United States alone who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that those who held jobs such as sanitation workers or trash collectors in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than people who held jobs such as doctors or scientists at the same age. If everyone knew this, the world would benefit, and it could impact the lives of everyone.
If everyone in the world knew that certain jobs are more at risk for Alzheimer’s, it could affect them in many ways. First of all, students would study harder so that they will get better jobs and reduce unemployment. This information could also benefit people still in these jobs by demonstrating to them that using their brains can help prevent Alzheimer’s. Neurologist David Bennett has explained: “This doesn’t mean you should quit your job and go get a Ph.D. Education probably relates to how you use your brain throughout life your job and leisure activities that stretch the mind.”
In addition, it could cause people who have had similar jobs to be tested for Alzheimer’s disease earlier and more regularly, which would be good for them and for the doctors treating them. If more people are tested, those who do have the disease will be able to be treated and will be less affected by it. The doctors who treat them will also be able to do so more effectively if they find out about it earlier. Unfortunately, this could have a negative effect with people who have jobs which are less likely for Alzheimer’s, such as doctors and scientists. However, if these people realized they are still at risk but are just less likely to get it, it would be positive, causing more people to be tested whether they have held a job which is more at risk or not.
In addition to having a positive effect on people, everyone in the world knowing that certain jobs are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease would help prevent many cases. More people would probably get tested if they knew, reducing the number of people in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. Also, anything known about the disease can help doctors find ways to prevent it. First of all, this information could help them better analyze patients for Alzheimer’s; secondly, it could be used as a treatment for the disease. This information, although partially related to jobs, is more related to brain use. This shows the importance of using our brains, and how mental health is related to it. In addition, if doctors and their patients knew that brain exercise can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, it could possibly be used effectively as a treatment or even as a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that brain use affects brain health would also cause everyone around the world to use their brains constantly, no matter what their age or job. If everybody in the world knew that certain jobs are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the information would be very helpful for preventing and treating many cases.
5,000,000 people in the U.S. are affected by Alzheimer’s, but if everyone in the world knew about that certain jobs are more at risk, this number could be reduced significantly. The information would benefit people, and could cause them to be tested earlier. Also, knowing this would be very helpful as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s and would be a valuable tool for doctors. If everyone in the world knew that certain jobs are more at risk for Alzheimer’s, it would have a major positive effect, and would reduce the number of people who are mentally crippled by this terrible disease.
– “Cognitive Reserve and Alzheimer pubmed.com. 12 Feb. 2008 .
– “Cognitive Reserve and Lifestyle pubmed.com. 12 Feb. 2008 .
– Elias, Marilyn. “Want a Sharp Mind for Your Golden Years? Start Now. usatoday.com. 12 Feb. 2008
– Griffin, Kelly. “You’re Wiser Now. aarpmagazine.org. 12 Feb. 2008 .
Essay B. A Slippery Slope to Senility
— By Amberlyn E.
Gray hair, glasses and memory loss? This stereotype of a typical aging individual is not inevitable. A fast spreading epidemic, Alzheimer’s has many aging people understandably scared. However, there is an alternative to becoming senile, and mental exercises can help prevent it. In addition, lifestyle changes can help keep minds sharp and working at their best. Seniors must not wait until the world becomes a confusing blur and names fly out the back door like birds from a cage!
Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain resulting in dementia; symptoms include restlessness, inability to recognize faces, bad hygiene, forgetfulness, and difficulty with daily functions. This fast-spreading disease has claimed 26 million victims worldwide, with a new diagnosis every 72 seconds. The world must know how to prevent this disease! If no cure is found by 2050, scientists estimate Alzheimer’s will claim 106 million people. Ten to twenty years before symptoms are evident, changes to the brain associated with Alzheimer’s have already occurred; even someone who believes he is very healthy could be sliding down a slippery slope to senility unaware. But preventing Alzheimer’s could change the world.
Many people wonder how to prevent this degenerative disease. The answer could revolutionize the world, drastically decreasing the number of individuals who Alzheimer’s reduces to a feeble state of dependence. Alcohol, drug abuse, and smoking contribute to Alzheimer’s, so avoiding these substances would be one preventive measure. Interestingly, heart and brain health are closely connected, so things that improve the heart, such as exercise, also improve the health of the brain. Another way of preventing Alzheimer’s is found in the diet: fish oils have been shown to help prevent this disease. In addition, the Omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic can also help prevent it by increasing the production of LR11, a protein that clears away enzymes that make beta anyloid plaques thought to cause Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that although memory is not lost, it cannot be accessed due to plaques in the brain. So if the Omega fatty acids could clear away the plaques, memory would be restored. If individuals acted on these simple preventive measures, they could drastically the future of the entire world by eliminating numerous cases of Alzheimer.
Many people have fallen prey to believing the lie that nothing can prevent Alzheimer’s. Actually, the startling outbreak of Alzheimer’s is in part because our culture makes people lazy and reluctant to use their minds. Due to a rumor that the mind cannot make new brain cells after reaching adulthood, most people believe they cannot improve their brains. On the contrary, though, the mind can always create new brain cells. Many companies recently began marketing products such as video games targeted at adults, mind games, and sudoku handhelds to promote brain growth. In addition, simple ways of exercising the brain and creating new neuropathways exist, such as doing normal routines in a different way or learning new skills. Playing simple but challenging games, learning a new language, or simply memorizing things are other possibilities. The world has to hear about these preventive measures so that they can escape Alzheimer’s. If not exercised regularly, brain cells actually die; but if the cells are used, they stay healthy and even grow. Obviously, many ways exist to improve one’s brain that prevent the devastating disease of Alzheimer.
Fortunately for everyone, there is an alternative to losing their minds. Although Alzheimer’s is spreading fast, many brain-stretching games and exercises along with lifestyle changes will keep the brain alert and functioning at its best. So although gray hair and glasses may be hard to avoid, rest assured that senility is avoidable. Start today and keep your mind sharp and memories safe.
– “About Alzheimer’s.” Fischer Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. 14 Feb. 2008 . Gorman, Christine.
– “Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s?” Time. 14 Feb. 2008 . Shute, Nancy.
– “New Research Suggests Ways to Slow–or Prevent–Alzheimer’s”. U.S. News. 14 Feb. 2008 .
– “Fish Oil May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s.” The Washington Post. 14 Feb. 2008 . Dayan, B..
– “Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease Early On.” Science Daily. 14 Feb. 2008 . Hill, Carrie. “How to Develop Your Personal Plan for a Healthy Brain”. About.com. 14 Feb. 2008 .