The connection between Alzheimer's and diet, nutrition and health seems to be
particularly strong, says new article from Vision
PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The number of Americans with Alzheimer's
disease--the most common type of dementia--will likely triple over the next 35
years, affecting as many as 16 million in 2050. Alzheimer's disease was only
discovered about a century ago, so such a dramatic jump in numbers is alarming.
What have we done to create this scenario, and what can we do to reverse it?
Scientists struggle to learn more about the disease, and some of the current
research is focusing on the connection between nutrition and health of the
brain. But the cause remains elusive.
In an article on Vision.org, "Why Alzheimer's Disease? Thinking About What We've
Done," Life and Health editor Alice Abler explains, "Gender, heredity, low
educational attainment levels, poorly controlled diabetes, advanced age,
disrupted sleep, lack of mental activity and smoking can all be linked to memory
loss, dementia and Alzheimer's."
However, a nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement and mentally
stimulating pursuits might help to reduce risk.
These four factors are usually within our control and may help our brains stay
healthy into old age. Studies of elderly people tested for memory and thinking
skills show that "those with the poorest scores had high levels of artificial
trans fats in their blood. Artificial trans fats are found in margarine,
processed convenience foods and fast foods, which . . . comprise an overwhelming
percentage of a typical Western diet, and current research indicates that these
foods are likely harmful to our brains."
On the other hand, the right fats and cholesterol are essential for brain
health, and the human brain holds about 25 percent of the body's total
cholesterol content. With that in mind, Abler says, "Avoiding processed foods
and instead eating foods with a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio along with
vitamin-rich vegetables would help give our brain a good defense against
Read the full story, "Why Alzheimer's Disease? Thinking About What We've Done,"
Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues covering a variety
of social, philosophical, moral and ethical issues. For a free subscription to
Vision's quarterly magazine, visit their Web site at
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