Tag Archives: dementia

Retirement and Dementia

Dr. Paul Nussbaum, the Chief Scientific Officer at Fit Brains, shares his valuable thoughts on the topics of Retirement and Dementia:

It’s ironic how people work their whole lives toward the goal of retirement but when it does come, many suffer anxiety and depression towards the idea of having nothing to think about or do.

For many years I have spoken and written about my resistance to “retirement” the way the policy and concept is positioned and treated in the United States. It is true that there may have been good intent with the idea of retirement, but my guess is that nobody considered the health implications for the brain. This becomes increasingly important when we know that a passive, isolated, lonely, and segregated brain will atrophy when we stop working.

Retirement certainly does not have to be a time of passivity. Indeed, many people at all ages retire to a different and even busier life than when they were employed. However, a recent study of nearly a half-million people by the French government’s health research agency found that people who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

It is believed work is related to physical activity, socialization, mental stimulation, all things known to be good for the brain and three of the five major pillars of Dr. Nussbaum’s Brain Health Lifestyle ® (see www.paulnussbaum.com)For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2% according to the study.

The major finding is supportive of the “use it or lose it” theory and I will simply add to that by saying you should “use it in new and complex ways or lose it.”  The answer is not to delay retirement to have a healthy mind and fulfilling life, it is the importance of keeping your mind and body active even after retirement.  Keep a personally relevant reason for getting up each morning, and feel good about your daily contributions to those around you.

Strive to be relevant, useful, healthy, and active every day in your life.  For the days that aren’t as busy as others, you can still keep your mind active and stimulated with the Fit Brains Trainer app!

Top 10 Brain Foods

You are what you eat” – that’s a saying we always hear!  However, most people think about how food affects the body, but not the brain.  The brain needs proper nutrients just like the rest of your body.  It actually needs more energy to operate properly than other organs!

Here are 10 brain foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to maintain a healthy brain:

 

1. Salmon - Improves brain tissue development, fights cognitive decline.
2. Blueberries - Improve memory, reduce stress, reduce age-related declines in motor function and coordination.
3. Avocados - Increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure to maintain effective mind functioning.
4. Flax Seeds - Build and protect neurons, aid the processing of sensory information.
5. Coffee (in moderation) - Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia…and of course, gives you a brain energy boost!
6. Nuts - Improve memory and mental clarity, fight insomnia.
7. Whole Grains - Promote cardiovascular health, which improves circulation flow to the brain.
8. Tomatoes - Eliminate free radicals in your body, prevent age-related cognitive diseases.
9. Eggs - Provides energy for your brain, improves memory.
10. Dark Chocolate (in moderation) - Increases focus and concentration, improves your mood!

 

What foods do you eat to keep your mind active & healthy?  Leave a comment and let us know!

PTSD Increases Risk of Dementia in Veterans

According to a new study veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia compared to those veterans without PTSD.

Scientists from the University of California-San Francisco reported the findings at the recent meeting of the International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease in Vienna. Their findings indicated veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD had a 10.6% rate of developing dementia over a seven year follow-up while those veterans without PTSD had a 6.6% rate.

The findings indicate that disorders such as PTSD, depression, and chronic anxiety may predispose the brain to vulnerability for dementia. Interestingly, PTSD has been related to dysfunction in the hippocampus, the critical region of disease for Alzheimer’s.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a clinical term that describes a loss of general intelligence from a previous level. There also needs to be a memory deficit and other cognitive problems such as language or visuospatial prolems. Personality is changed and there is functional decline.

It is important to note that there are approximately 100 different causes of dementia with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) being the number one cause. AD accounts for nearly 50-70% of all dementias and 95% of all dementias are irreversible. Examples of reversible dementias include B12 deficiency, thyroid disorder and depression.

It is important to seek a comprehensive dementia workup if there is any question that a loved one may be demonstrating signs of a dementia.

To Learn more about Brain Plasticity & Cognitive Reserve

Diabetes and Dementia

A recent study in Journal of the American Medical Association provides further support for a relationship between the risk factors of type II diabetes and dementia. This particular study focused on episodes of hypoglycemia and its influence on risk for dementia.

With diabetes there exist a number of health related factors such as obesity, imbalance of glucose, high blood pressure, stroke, abnormal cerebrovascular flow, and heart and other major system dysfunction. Either these factors combined or with a focus on glucose stabilization which can adversely affect the function of neurons, there appears to be a critical risk enhancement to development of dementia in later life.

The important point here is that diabetes with all of its risk factors are cumulative and have a proactive and lifelong effect. This underscores the need for a proactive and lifelong healthy lifestyle, including that for the brain. Nutrition and physical activity are two primary lifestyle behaviors critical for combating type II diabetes.

Eating brain healthy foods and remaining physically active to enhance blood flow to the brain are both necessary and fundamental to a healthy lifestyle and to combating the risk for type II diabetes.