Better Your Brain
While we don’t know yet how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps that you can take to improve the overall health of your brain.
A Mediterranean diet—including beans, fish (or vegetarian substitutes), fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, whole grains—contributes to a healthy brain and heart.
During deep sleep the natural cleaners of your brain—microglia—remove unwanted particles. The recommendation is at least 7 hours each night.
There is evidence that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant in red wine, dark chocolate, and grapes, may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s (in moderation, of course).
Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, reduces Alzheimer’s–related senile plaques and inflammation, and enhances the birth of new neural stem cells.
Having an active social life increases brain activity, reduces stress, and may both trigger and preserve memories. It also helps to ward off depression, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
It appears that people with high and persistent levels of stress are at increased risk for mild cognitive impairment. Schedule daily activities like meditation, yoga, or spending time with your pet.
When you learn a new, challenging skill such as photography, quilting or playing a musical instrument, you are strengthening the neural networks in your brain.
Listening to music can evoke emotion and trigger memories. Singing or playing a musical instrument has been shown to help build neural networks.
Some studies have linked poor oral hygiene to dementia—possibly due to increased inflammation or bacteria reaching the brain. A regular visit to your dentist is recommended
Where to Learn More
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund: Much like Rick’s fight with Alzheimer’s spurred our fight, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was founded in 2004 in the frustrations of three families with the pace of research towards a cure. A 501(c)(3), since then they’ve been able to donate over $74 million towards that research. (Learn More)
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine: Since its founding in 1876, Johns Hopkins University has become one of the premier medical research facilities in the world. Their Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center keeps as its mission the acceleration of new treatments for the mechanisms of the disease, and the quest for an ultimate cure. (Learn More)
National Institutes of Health: A vital part of the National Institutes of Health is the National Institute on Aging. Since 1974, their mission has been the improvement of the health and well-being of older Americans. One in 10 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s dementia. (Learn More)
University of Virginia: The University of Virginia School of Medicine was the tenth medical school in the United States and has been an integral part of Thomas Jefferson’s school since 1819. For generations since, members of their faculty have been recognized and honored for their research and discoveries, and they continue to do groundbreaking work today. (Learn More)