A common theme I heard at the Society for Neuroscience conference last week was the easy availability of preventive steps that can be taken now to reduce the rate of new Alzheimer’s cases. Two of these preventive steps that have strong research evidence are lifestyle choices:
1. Moderate aerobic exercise (30 minutes) a few times a week sharply upregulates a protein called BDNF, which encourages new neuron growth, especially in the hippocampal and frontal cortex areas which are vital to learning and memory.
2. Antioxidents, from both food sources and Vitamin C tablets, have strong neuroprotective properties. (My personal favorite source of antioxidents is red wine.)
Another preventive measure is routine cognitive health screening in a doctor’s office or health clinic. Computer based memory screening tools are now sensitive enough to pick up early signs of memory impairment that older paper tests might miss.
As Americans dig into their turkey feast tomorrow, it would be a good idea to schedule preventive step # 1 above during the weekend!