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Brain Health and Alzheimer’s disease

Healthy SeniorHere is ques­tion 14 of 25 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions. To down­load the com­plete ver­sion, please click here.

Ques­tion:
Does a brain fit­ness pro­gram pre­vent Alzheimer’s dis­ease and oth­er forms of demen­tia?

Key Points:

  • Stud­ies have shown men­tal­ly active peo­ple have low­er rates and lat­er onset of symp­toms for Alzheimer’s dis­ease and oth­er forms of demen­tia. These dis­eases involve a num­ber of vari­ables like fam­i­ly his­to­ry, phys­i­cal fit­ness, nutri­tion, and brain fit­ness.
  • Peo­ple who remain intel­lec­tu­al­ly active and engage in hob­bies reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease by one third.

Answer:

No spe­cif­ic pro­gram has been shown to pre­vent Alzheimer’s. How­ev­er, reg­u­lar brain exer­cise can slow the appear­ance of dis­ease relat­ed symp­toms. Stud­ies have shown that par­tic­u­lar­ly in the ear­ly stages of these dis­eases, the brain is still able to learn and change.

Learn­ing is neu­ro­pro­tec­tive by increas­ing neu­ronal con­nec­tions between neu­rons, increas­ing cel­lu­lar metab­o­lism, and increas­ing the pro­duc­tion of nerve growth fac­tor, a sub­stance pro­duced by your body to help main­tain and repair neu­rons.

Build­ing up your cog­ni­tive reserve while you’re young, aging well, or even are in the ear­ly stages of dis­ease will most like­ly improve your qual­i­ty of life even as the dis­ease pro­gress­es. A larg­er reserve gives you a back­up of neu­rons to help you con­tin­ue to be self-suf­fi­cient for longer.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, noth­ing avail­able today can ful­ly pre­vent these dis­eases from occur­ring. How­ev­er, reg­u­lar train­ing with a cog­ni­tive fit­ness pro­gram can post­pone the appear­ance of the cog­ni­tive symp­toms and build up your cog­ni­tive reserve.

Fur­ther Read­ing:

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