Showing posts with label medication for dementia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medication for dementia. Show all posts

Saturday, May 30, 2020

No Magic Pill for Dementia or Alzheimers - But Lifestyle Changes Can Help

Despite all the advertisements you may have seen, as of 2020 there are NO magic pills which will prevent dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, including those over-the-counter medications which are advertised constantly and sound highly appealing.  This was the conclusion of researchers from the MIND program at the University of California - Irvine.  It was also the conclusion of a study completed by the AARP Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).  While this may be disappointing news to the millions of people who live in fear of developing some form of dementia as they age, at least it may help them avoid wasting money on unnecessary memory or brain supplements.

In addition to the work done by the UCI - MIND researchers, an AARP report titled, "The Real Deal on Brain Health Supplements," claims that people spent over $3 billion on brain supplements in 2016, and it was a "massive waste of money."  The experts interviewed for the article, which included doctors, scientists, scholars and policy experts, determined that "scientific evidence does not support the use of any supplement to prevent, slow, reverse or stop cognitive decline or dementia or other related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's."

To make matters worse, the researchers were actually concerned that some of the supplements might not be either safe or pure.  Some of them could even harm consumers.

Conclusion of Dr. Joshua Grill of UCI-MIND
Prescription Medications Do Not Help, Either

Dr. Joshua Grill of UCI MIND reported at a 2019 Senior Summit in Orange County, California that it has been over 15 years since any new prescription medications have been brought to the market to treat dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.  The overall conclusion by a variety of researchers is that there are no drugs which can either prevent or treat dementia in any significant way. At most, there may be a few medications which can slightly slow the progression in some people, but that is the best we currently have.

Good News: You are Not Helpless Against Dementia

Despite the grim news about medical interventions to prevent dementia, people are not completely helpless.  There ARE steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing dementia, but it is not as simple as taking a pill and assuming you can continue to live however you want.  True dementia prevention means taking an assertive approach to lifestyle changes.

Research from Dr. Joshua Grill of UCI-MIND
The Lifestyle Changes Which Reduce Dementia Risk

Eat a Healthy Diet - The best diet for brain health is actually called the MIND Diet and you can learn more about it in "The MIND Diet Plan and Cookbook." (Ad) This book will take you step-by-step through the best food choices to make if you want to protect your brain.  Even if you do not follow it 100% of the time, it will help you set up an eating plan which you can aspire to.

Get Daily Exercise - Your brain cannot function properly without a steady flow of oxygen and nutrients, and the best way to flood your brain with what it needs is to keep the blood flowing.  Get at least one 30 minute walk a day, and if you can take several walks, that is even better.  You may also want to take a balance or exercise class to strengthen your muscles.  This could prevent you from falling and hitting your head, which could cause brain trauma ... another cause of dementia. 

Exercise Your Brain - If you spend your days bored in front of the television, your brain will gradually lose its sharpness.  You need to give it regular workouts including reading books, learning new skills, playing games, and working puzzles. Some people continue to work late in life, which can be very mentally stimulating. Others have found it is never too late to go back to school and get that degree they always wanted.  The more education you have, the lower your risk of dementia. Work your brain in a wide variety of ways for the best results. 

Socialize with Other People - Socializing helps you in a number of ways, whether you do it in person, over the phone, or virtually, using a website like Zoom.  It relaxes you and helps stimulate your brain when you engage in a conversation.  When you socialize, you may learn something new or be inspired to take up an interesting hobby. In addition, there is no way to predict what another person will say.  After they speak, you need to think about it and respond almost instantly.  This is a great brain exercise, and the more time you spend conversing, the more you will give your brain a real workout. There is no telling where an interesting conversation may lead you, and the benefit to your brain is a bonus!

Find healthy ways to deal with stress - Take up activities such as yoga or meditation.  If you are religious, spend some time each day in prayer. These activities will help you relax and make your life easier. It will also help lower your blood pressure, which is important for good brain health.  In addition, it may improve the quality of your sleep, which is also necessary to brain health.

Give up your vices - It may be difficult to stop smoking, moderate your alcohol consumption, and stop indulging in rich, fattening foods, but if it means you might keep your cognitive abilities for years longer, it will be worth it.

Obey Your Doctor and Dentist's Orders - Whether your dentist tells you to get your teeth cleaned more often, or your doctor prescribes cholesterol lowering drugs, your efforts to maintain your overall physical health will also help protect your brain.  Many people do not realize that their oral health also affects their heart health and their Alzheimer's risk.  See your doctor and dentist regularly and follow their instructions!

Stay Up-to-date on Alzheimer's Research - New research is constantly being done on how we can lower our dementia and Alzheimer's risk.  Read as much of this research as possible. A good place to start is the book "The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline."  This book has some great tips for keeping your brain functioning at its maximum capacity for as long as possible. It was a New York Time's best seller and I highly recommend it for anyone over the age of 50.  (Ad)

In summary, there are no magic pills or shortcuts which will protect your brain from most forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.  However, you may be able to postpone or prevent it if you live a lifestyle which is protective.  While there are no guarantees, it is worth a try, isn't it?

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you are interested in reading more about common medical issues as we age, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:

Photo credits: and UCI MIND