The CDC defines dementia as a general term used to describe the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions about everyday activities.1 An estimated 5 million people in the United States have dementia with Alzheimer’s disease ( AD). The most common form.1 There is great interest in brain health. Recent survey results show that approximately 25% of adults over the age of 50 are taking a supplement to improve their brain health, with the promise of improved memory and increased attention and focus
Age has long been known as the strongest predictor of developing dementia, but there are other risk factors as well. A person with a family history is more likely to develop dementia. Black people are twice as likely and Hispanic people are 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than white people.1 Middle-aged hypertension can increase the risk of cognitive decline in old age as it damages blood vessels, leading to vascular disease Dementia leads. 3 Other conditions such as diabetes and traumatic brain injury are also linked to dementia.
TREATMENT OF DEMENTIA
Treatment for dementia involves treating the underlying cause, whether it’s a chronic disease, medication, or other factors. AD is incurable, but some medications can slow the process down and treat symptoms of anxiety or behavior changes. While there are still many unanswered questions about dementia, there are proven strategies that can be used throughout life to slow cognitive decline in old age.
Research has shown the link between brain health and exercise, and several studies have looked at the effects on cognitive decline in old age. The results of a study with more than 30,000 participants found that those who were physically fit during the 10-year study were almost 50% less likely to develop dementia in old age than the least healthy study participants.4 The study results also showed that the Participants Individuals who were out of shape in middle age and who got fitter throughout the study showed the same significant reduction in risk of dementia as their counterparts who were fit at the start of the study.4 This shows that it is never too late with that Start training to become cognitive accomplishments. Other studies have looked at the intensity and duration of exercise, and the results found that regular moderate-to-high intensity exercise and strength training are most beneficial.4,5
Changes in the brain can occur years before symptoms appear, and diet has been studied as a possible way to slow the aging process, particularly through the Mediterranean and Mediterranean DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay diets. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fish, fruits, cereals, legumes, vegetables and whole grains. Not only does a good diet help with risk factors for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but it can also protect the brain through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant processes. So far, there is no clear evidence that avoiding or eating certain foods reduces the risk of AD. However, eating fish and leafy green vegetables and eating a low-salt and low-sugar diet can reduce the risk of dementia.
Although investigators are still debating whether dementia leads to poor sleep or poor sleep makes dementia worse, they agree that there is a link. The National Institutes of Health reported in 2018 that sleep deficits could increase AD-related β-amyloid proteins in the brain.6 results from another study that included people over the age of 25 showed a 30% increased risk of dementia in 50 years. , 60-, and 70-year-olds who slept 6 or less hours a night 7
Most dietary supplements are not tested in clinical, controlled, randomized trials, and the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements. Because of this, their effectiveness and safety are largely unknown, as is the interaction of dietary supplements with other drugs. There are several supplements that individuals use regularly that have shown little benefit in the results of some studies.
The most common of these are omega-3 and vitamins E and B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12. Omega-3s are found in oily fish like mackerel and salmon, as well as in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, all of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the brain. The results of a 2014 study showed that vitamin E can help people with AD continue to perform daily functions. However, vitamin E does not prevent AD or reduce other symptoms.8 Vitamin E is believed to contribute to brain health by reducing oxidative stress. Vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12 help break down homocysteine, which has been shown to contribute to AD and dementia. Most people get enough B vitamin in their diet, but if they don’t, the deficit is reversible with supplementation, which is rarely needed in the long run.
There is also an herb that is specifically indicated for memory, gingko biloba, but research does not definitively support the claim. One of the largest studies trying to link it to memory was the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study. In 3,000 participants who took a supplement over a 6-year period, the results did not show that gingko biloba reduced the risk of developing general dementia. 9
Lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise can help prevent AD and support brain health, as well as lowering the risk of other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that have been linked to AD. A healthy lifestyle can improve health and potentially protect the brain.
1. What is dementia? CDC. April 5, 2019. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/dementia/index.html
2. Levine H. AARP’s Survey on Diet Supplements for Brain Health. AARP. June 11, 2019. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2019/brain-supplements-survey.html
3. Peila R, White LR, Masaki K, Petrovich H, Launer LJ. Reducing the risk of dementia: effectiveness of long-term treatment for high blood pressure. Stroke. 2006; 37 (5): 1165- 1170. doi: 10.1161 / 01.STR.0000217653.01615.93
4. Livingston G., Huntley J., Sommerlad A. et al. Prevention, Intervention, and Care of Dementia: Lancet Commission 2020 Report. Lancet. 2020; 396 (10248): 413-40; 446. doi: 10.1016 / S0140-6736 (20) 30367-6
5. Exercise improves memory and increases blood flow to the brain. Press release. UT Southwestern Medical Center. May 20, 2020. Accessed April 25, 2021. https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/articles/year-2020/exercise-improves-memory-boosts-blood-flow-to-brain.html
6. Sleep deprivation increases Alzheimer’s protein. National Health Institute. April 24, 2018. Accessed April 23, 2021. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/sleep-deprivation-increases-alzheimers-protein
7. Sabia S., Fayosse A., Dumurgier J. et al. Association of the duration of sleep in middle and old age with the occurrence of dementia. Nat Commun. 2021; 12 (1): 2289. doi: 10.1038 / s41467-021-22354-2
8. La Fata G., Weber P., Mohajeri MH. Effects of vitamin E on cognitive performance during aging and in Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrient. 2014; 6 (12): 5453-5472. doi: 10.3390 / nu6125453
9. DeKosky ST, Fitzpatrick A., Ives DG, et al. The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) Study: Design and basic data of a randomized study with Ginkgo biloba extract for the prevention of dementia. Contemp Clin studies. 2006; 27 (3): 238–2 253. doi: 10.1016 / j.cct.2006.02.007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanna Lewis, PharmD, MBA, is the 340B Compliance Coordinator at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida.