How to Prevent Dementia

These days there has been a lot of attention placed on aging and along with that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Emerging research has shown that the simple act of reading, playing crossword puzzles, or doing crafts can decrease your chances of mental decline as you age. Some neuro-scientists have taken this a step further and have been developing specific, targeted exercises to not only stave off dementia, but to also improve mental sharpness, memory, attention, processing speed and cognitive control (decision making and planning). I don’t know about you, but these are all areas in which I could use improvement.

A new Mayo Clinic study found that reading books, playing games, participating in computer activities and crafting led to a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. People who watched television for less than seven hours a day in later years were 50 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who watched more than seven hours of television per day. Additionally, individuals who participated in social activities and read magazines during middle age were about 40 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not participate in those activities. This study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25-May 2, 2009 and written about on Mayo Clinic.

In a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in collaboration with Syracuse University studied 469 subjects older than 75 years of age who lived in the community setting. They recorded the frequency of participation in leisure activities for the subjects. They documented their thinking and physical abilities and recorded them in activity-days per week. The researchers found that over an average period of 5.4 years, dementia developed in 124 subjects (Alzheimer’s disease in 61 subjects, vascular dementia in 30, mixed dementia in 25, and other types of dementia in 8). They also found that among leisure activities, reading, playing board games, playing musical instruments, and dancing were associated with a reduced risk of dementia.

In searching the web for information about this, as well as programs or exercises to help improve my mental sharpness, I came across a site called Lumosity.com. Run by Lumos Labs, a cognitive neuroscience research and development company that builds software tools for improving brain health and performance, this site was created with fun in mind. They have a large selection of Flash based online games that give your grey matter a good workout, while keeping you entertained. Personally I feel like my brain muscle is getting stretched.

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10 comments

Jane Barton
Jane Barton3 years ago

"Alzheimers dis is NOT because of aging. It was practically nonexistent before 1960, since then it has exploded in the western world, in the 70s and 80s, the number of 85year old people with non-vascular dementia quadrupled!"

That's correct, Alzheimers was unheard of before 1960. That's because before 1960 our food was pure and clean. Now all our food and water and air is poisoned. And the poisoning of our food is getting worse and worse. Before 1960 autism was unheard of too. Five years ago
autism jumped to 1 in 800 births. Now it's 1 in 68 in polluted areas. The solution for Alzheimers isn't reading more, it's cleaning up our food supply. We need to stop eating meat, stop all manufacture of pesticides and get off oil. That's very unlikely so I think we are
doomed to die a slow, painful death.


Genesis Merano
Genesis Merano3 years ago

Than you so much for the information. Though I am thirty years away from 65, I think that the earlier people start, the better. Healthy lifestyle is always the key.

Genesis Merano
Genesis Merano3 years ago

Than you so much for the information. Though I am thirty years away from 65, I think that the earlier people start, the better. Healthy lifestyle is always the key.

Peggy L.
Peggy L.5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this article.

Julie F.
Julie F.5 years ago

very interesting!

Henrik L.
Henrik L.6 years ago

Alzheimers dis is NOT because of aging. It was practically nonexistent before 1960, since then it has exploded in the western world, in the 70s and 80s, the number of 85year old people with non-vascular dementia quadrupled! My uncle got it first, after a few years my father followed in 1982, but I have pressed it back for the last 28 years....

Eliza D.
Past Member 6 years ago

It has been revealed that partners of persons suffering from Dementia are at a significantly higher danger of themselves contracting dementia. Stress is the proven potential risk factor to cause dementia. Men delay visiting the doctor unless prodded by their wives. This behaviour puts them at greater risk of developing high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure along with other situations, which encourages to cause dementia.
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heather g.
heather g.6 years ago

Yes, Juliet D. I agree with your comments about being more cooperative - and I'd like to add, certainly being more aware of the consequences of our actions.
I quote your comment
Just look at the people who can't even be bothered to reduce and recycle their trash.
To which I'd like to add - People who rush around in large, noisy, polluting vehicles and then leave their engines running to spew out more polluting fumes. If not that, they're tearing through the forests and wetlands on bikes or off-road vehicles. That's small town British Columbia for you!

Miss Info
Miss Info6 years ago

There is also a link between artificial sweeteners and dementia. Also heavy metals, including aluminum. Along with the things mentioned above, I would stay away from non-stick cookware, aluminum food containers, foil, or cooking items, and diet soda.

Juliet D.
.6 years ago

Why not do something a bit more meaningful? Volunteer to teach reading, work with a local wildlife rehabilitation or conservation group, or even audit some college classes. At home, you could green-ovate! With a library books, you could learn about organic gardening and grow some veggies in a window box. We are increasingly a nation of people who won't do anything that may be the slightest bit inconvenient. Just look at the people who can't even be bothered to reduce and recycle their trash - usually they're the ones who claim they're "sacrificing" for their children! I think a lot of people are bored because they think everything has to revolve around them. Climate change is a worse enemy than the Nazis, so let's get the WWII cooperative and thrifty spirit back.