National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – 3 Brain Facts You Should Know

Senior couple sitting on beach
Here’s to a Healthy, Happy Brain!

It’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month! We thank the 15 million+ Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in America.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behaviour and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging. And it’s a progressively debilitating disease that leads to death.

The Numbers

Did you know 47 million people worldwide and 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s? Every 67 seconds an American develops this disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It can’t be cured or slowed unlike the other 9 leading causes of death. And two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

But There Is Hope

Even though there isn’t a cure, drugs and certain actions can manage the disease. Also, research shows that lifestyle factors and a positive outlook can help with brain aging. Recent UK study results conducted by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council indicate that regular brain training can benefit people over the age of 50. Findings from another well known study reveal that adults who learn new skills and do mentally stimulating activities like crosswords usually have lower rates of dementia. The notable Nun study indicates that an optimistic mind provides a natural defence against Alzheimer’s. And, here’s a twist, even though some nuns actually had the disease, they showed no outward symptoms, thanks to keeping their brains active and positive! Brain training can help maintain brain function and help prevent cognitive decline.

Quick Tips to Maintain Brain Function and Prevent Cognitive Decline

  1.     Hit the Gym
  2.     Nosh on a Healthy Diet
  3.     As Pharrel Williams Sings, Be Happy!
  4.     Challenge Your Mind with our fun free games! [hyperlink]

What is your favorite activity to boost your brain?  Tell us in the comments!  And follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  

Play a FREE Fun Brain Game Now

The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Brain Train Your Way to Better Performance: The FINGER Study

According to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet (March 2015) brain training, exercise, healthy eating and management of risk factors seems to maintain or improve cognitive function and delay cognitive decline.  The Finnish Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) is the first of its’ kind, ground breaking trial to combat some of the key high risk factors for dementia (eg. Heart health, high BMI).

Method

1260 Finns aged 60-77 were randomly divided equally between the control group who were given general health tips and the intervention group.  The latter had regular meetings with healthcare professionals and were given comprehensive guidance on healthy eating, exercise programs, brain training and managing metabolic and vascular risk factors, for example, with regular blood exams.

Findings

After 2 years, the participants’ cognitive performance was assessed with a standard exam, the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB).  The overall scores for the intervention group were higher by 25%.  The remarkable results for certain sections of the exam, processing speed at 150% and executive functioning at 83% were even higher.  Executive function refers to the brain’s capacity to manage, plan and execute thought processes.

“Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive program aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.” Professor Kivipelto, lead Researcher – Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland

Train & Play with Fit Brains

Your brain is like a muscle, it can grow fitter and stronger with exercise. Train and play with Fit Brains. Fit Brains exercises help stimulate and entertain your mind. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train or train on-the-go with our IOS, Android or Amazon app!   

Play Fit Brains

Journal Reference

Tiia Ngandu, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Esko Levälahti, Satu Ahtiluoto, Riitta Antikainen, Lars Bäckman, Tuomo Hänninen, Antti Jula, Tiina Laatikainen, Jaana Lindström, Francesca Mangialasche, Teemu Paajanen, Satu Pajala, Markku Peltonen, Rainer Rauramaa, Anna Stigsdotter-Neely, Timo Strandberg, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Hilkka Soininen, Miia Kivipelto. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trialThe Lancet, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60461-5