Presently there is no cure for dementia – but IT CAN BE AVOIDED. In the last 18 months we have accumulated many stories identifying 21 ways to fight dementia and Alzheimer’s. This really is the most up to date cutting-edge list of ways to help your brain healthy. Also provided is the latest on potential cures. Here goes:
1. eat berries – berries prevent the effects of aging in the brain. This is due to them being high in antioxidants. In addition Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries also change the way neurons communicate in the brain reducing inflammation. Burberry’s have no beneficial health effects but may help you look chic. Read more (including why free radicals might be flippin’ expensive radicals);
2. drink a glass of milk each day. U.S. scientists believe that magnesium is the key ingredient in boosting memory. Naturally we’d recommend consuming skimmed or semi-skimmed rather than the full fat variety. Avoiding dementia by dying of a heart attack isn’t quite the solution we had in mind! Read more;
3. drink glass of wine or pint of beer each day – I’d suggest, not with the milk. German scientists have demonstrated that you are over 40 per cent less likely to suffer Alzheimer’s if you have a daily tipple. Read more;
4. eat beetroot. Groan . . . it was going so well. Strawberries, milk, pint of beer, this was the kind of health regime that was going to be easy to live with! However, I daresay in a population of 60 million there must be one or two people in the UK actually like the taste of beetroot . . . do you think? Beetroot is nitrate rich and has the effect of improving the blood flow (including blood flow in the brain). Read more;
5. take Vitamin B tablets. Researchers at Oxford University have found that a daily vitamin pill containing high doses of B vitamins and folic acid could dramatically slow the onset of memory loss in old age, and even protect against Alzheimer’s disease. The pill reduced memory decline by as much as 70% in some elderly people and also reduced brain shrinkage. The scientists hope that this work could pave the way for future testing of vitamin B levels in middle age. See ‘Daily vitamin to help reverse Alzheimer’s’;
6. sleep better! Umm, I know what you are thinking. You don’t sleep well because you are stressing and can’t relax and now I’m telling you you’ll get dementia if you don’t start sleeping better! Here’s the article which explains that a build up of amyloid plaques can build up when you have disrupted sleep. Amyloid plaques are an early indicator of dementia – they can show 10 to 15 years before the onset of Alzheimer’s. In fact, according to U.S. scientists everyone who has them will develop Alzheimer’s. On the plus side the above article names a fruit drink that can give you 25 minutes extra sleep every night;
7. eat curry. Laden with oil and, according to the World Health Organisation, frequently heavy in salt, there are not going to be many health diets that recommend eating curry. Nonetheless it’s right here in the ‘avoid dementia diet’ because Swedish scientist’s have conducted tests on fruit flies and identified curcumin with fighting Alzheimer’s. Curcumin is found in tumeric which is an ingredient in nearly all curries. The Swedish sceientists speculate that this may explain the lower incidence of Alzheimer’s in India. Read more;
8. eat grilled or baked fish. Omega 3 improves blood flow, reduces inflammation and fights amyloid plaques which helps fight Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. However it is important to cook the fish in a way that retains the Omega 3 fatty acids. Frying fish has no benefit as the acids are lost during the cooking process. See ‘Grilled fish protects the brain’;
9. drink Green Tea – scientists at Newcastle University have discoverd that drinking Green Tea may ward off dementia and cancer. Chemicals produced during digestion can fight toxins which protect brain cells. See ‘Green Tea can help ward off dementia’;
10. take a brisk walk – exercise can help keep the brain in good health. Belgian scientists have identified that exercise isn’t just good for the body. See ‘Keep your body and brain fit in one go’ and ‘Don’t forget that daily stroll’;
11. take an Aspirin every day. Controversial one this as there are downsides and risks associated with high use of Aspirin but Oxford University believe it has strong cancer fighting abilities. Furthermore it is believed to help fight dementia – possibly by improving the blood flow in the brain by thinning the blood. See ‘Take an Aspirin every day’;
12. reduce your calorie in-take. A strange one this and perhaps a little difficult if you are going to start eating more curry. Italian scientists have discovered, in tests on mice, that a 70% reduction in their calorie intake extended their lives by a third. Eating fewer calories triggers a protein called CREB1 which ‘turns on’ genes linked to longer and healthier life. Read ‘dieting helps keep the brain young’;
13. cut your cholesterol. Scientists in Japan have identified that people with a diet high in cholesterol are more likely to have a build up of amyloid plaques. High cholesterol is also linked with heart disease so cutting down will also improve your chances of avoiding a heart attack. Sadly, for those already suffering from Alzheimer’s cholesterol lowering drugs have proved ineffective. See ‘High cholesterol linked to Alzheimer’s’;
14. learn a foreign language. C’mon, us Brits are awful at foreign languages so here’s a good excuse to pick up that French phrase book that’s lying around somewhere. Canadian scientist’s have identified that learing another language will delay the onset of dementia by 5 years. It doesn’t stop you getting dementia but it certainly delays the onset. See ‘A second language will delay dementia by 5 years’;
15. avoid diabetes and depression! Easier said that done admittedly. See ‘Diabetes + Depression = Dementia’;
16. avoid being over-weight – especially in middle age! Being over-weight in middle age doubles the risk you will develop dementia and if you are obese the risk explodes. Read ‘Being overweight in middle age linked to dementia’;
17. avoid smoking. U.S. scientist’s believe smoking increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. See ’7 deadly health sins can increase Alzheimer’s risk’;
18. wear well fitted dentures. OK, OK, I know it sounds ridiculous but U.S. scientists believe that the elderly face an increased risk of dementia due to any health complaint including ill fitting dentures. See ‘Dementia stopped by dentures’;
19. be very careful if you are elderly on a cocktail of drugs. British scientists have identified that certain drug combinations can significantly increase the risk of death and dementia. See ‘A fatal cocktail of over the counter drugs’ and start swatting up on those drugs you regularly take;
20. bake a cake. Actually any kind of mental stimulation will have a beneficial impact in fighting the onset of dementia. See ‘Bake a cake and fight dementia’;
21. take angiotensin II if you suffer from high blood pressure. This drug has been found to half the risk of Alzheimer’s. See ‘Drug fights Alzheimer’s’.
The Life Dept adds: dementia is the big cloud on the horizon with around 800,000 sufferes in the UK. this si forecast to rise over 1 million in the next 10 years. This is a huge problem. Not just because so many people will be impacted by the disease but also because of the impact it has on loved ones and those that have to care for the sufferers.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are covered with critical illness cover albeit it will be dependent on severity and also requires a doctor to diagnose it. Diagnosis can be difficult especially in early onset. Death resulting from dementia would trigger a life insurance payout from the insurance companies.
Whilst it is true that most dementia sufferers are typically 70 and over it is a myth that it only affects the elderly. Younger people can fall victim, including in rare cases, even children. This means that for those individuals still working with income protection insurance, who become unable to work due to dementia, insurance payouts would be made. Remember that income protection provides long term cover against sickness and accident. A typical income protection claim pays for 8 years with Liverpool Victoria and this type of cover shouldn’t be confused with short term sickness, accident and unemployment cover typically sold by banks and building socities when taking a mortgage.
Dementia is a condition that can be prevented or delayed but cannot, presently, be cured. Nonetheless The Life Dept has run many stories in our Live Longer section suggesting progress is being made. here are some of the more interesting stories:
(a) there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia but perhaps the most exciting breakthrough for sufferers of Alzheimer’s is the discovery, by U.S. scientists, that bexarotene, can significantly reduce amyloid plaques in a matter of hours. Bexarotene is a drug used in the treatment of skin, breast, lung cancer and other diseases. Unfortunately the tests were carried out on mice so, whilst it offers the prospect of a treatment down the line, it isn’t available now. See Alzheimer’s reversed with skin cancer drug;
(b) deep brain stimulation. Scientists are claiming that the effects of Alzheimer’s can be reversed with deep brian stimulation. See: ‘Alzheimer’s disease reversed’;
(c) sceientist’s in Finland have developed a test to identify those suffering mild cognitive impairment and those suffering Alzheimer’s. See ‘Simple test to point out Alzheimer’s’;
(d) singing and puzzles – dementia suffers have half the rate of decline in the condition by singing and doing puzzles. See ‘Singing and puzzles can stop dementia’;
(e) giving an epilepsy drug to people suffering mild cognitive impairmnet (MCI) may help fight Alzheimers. See ‘Epilepsy drug may help Alzheimer’s’ .
‘You never know when your number’s up!’ Get a quote now.
Written exclusively for THE LIFE & critical illness DEPT | 9 Mar 2012 | providers of life insurance, critical illness insurance and income protection cover.
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