Health & Fitness The Link Between Diet, Exercise and Alzheimer's

17:20  30 october  2019
17:20  30 october  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

Even a small boost in exercise can help protect you from alzheimer’s

Even a small boost in exercise can help protect you from alzheimer’s You don’t even need to hit 10,000 steps a day, new research suggests. People who increase their physical activity by as little as 3,300 steps a day as they get older have less accumulation in their brains of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, a study published in JAMA Neurology found. Previous research has linked physical activity to a good circadian rhythm, which can improve sleep quality—crucial for clearing out that kind of protein. You know that exercise is important for keeping your body healthy as you age, but more and more research suggests it plays a role in keeping your mind sharp, too.

While researchers struggle to develop a drug to treat or cure Alzheimer ’ s , some doctors are recommending lifestyle changes. In his 40s and a self-described fitness nut, Stephen Chambers doesn’t seem like someone who would be worrying about Alzheimer ’ s .

A high-carb diet , and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.

a person sitting at a table with food © Bryan Anselm for The Wall Street Journal

In his 40s and a self-described fitness nut, Stephen Chambers doesn’t seem like someone who would be worrying about Alzheimer’s.

But when his father was diagnosed with the disease about five years ago, he went to the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic in New York to see what he could do.

Though he had no noticeable memory issues, cognitive testing showed less than ideal levels in certain areas. His neurologist told him there were a number of lifestyle changes that might help his cognition and possibly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Mr. Chambers, a 48-year-old physical therapist in Jersey City, N.J., modified his sleep, diet and exercise routines. Eighteen months later, his performance on a battery of cognitive tests improved, particularly in areas like processing speed and executive function, such as decision-making and planning.

Effective Ways To Enhance Memory

Effective Ways To Enhance Memory Effective Ways To Enhance Memory

Diabetes may increase your risk of Alzheimer ' s . But blood sugar control, exercise and a healthy diet may help. Some researchers think that each condition fuels the damage caused by the other. Ongoing research is aimed at trying to better understand the link between Alzheimer ' s and diabetes.

According to the Alzheimer ’ s Association, Alzheimer ’ s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Learn more about the link between genes and Alzheimer ’ s disease. Exercise regularly. Try cognitive training exercises . Eat a plant-based diet .

“I feel a certain sense of comfort in knowing that there are factors that I can control that can contribute to the decreased risk of me getting Alzheimer’s,” says Mr. Chambers.

Mr. Chambers is among 154 patients in a study, to be published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, that doctors say shows encouraging results. Among healthy patients, people who made changes in nutrition and exercise showed cognitive improvements on average. People who were already experiencing some memory problems also showed cognitive improvement—if they followed at least 60% of the recommended changes.

It’s unclear whether the lifestyle changes can actually help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease, or simply improve cognition.

Samuel L Jackson's crusade to end Alzheimer’s disease after 'cruel' condition affected six members of his family

Samuel L Jackson's crusade to end Alzheimer’s disease after 'cruel' condition affected six members of his family The actor has joined forces with the Alzheimer’s Society to back a campaign to re-write the belief that dementia is an inevitability of old age. What else did he say? Jackson, who played Nick Fury in the Iron Man and Avengers movies, said: “My grandfather was my best friend growing up, so it was heart-breaking for me to see him not know who I was. "The same happened with my mother soon after she was diagnosed. It is so cruel having someone who has nurtured you and taken care of you reach a point where they can’t even recall your name.

Alzheimer ' s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It 's a type of dementia that develops overtime. We should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intesity exercise each week, it can be as simple as cleaning, walking, swimming, or riding the bike.

The Alzheimer ' s Association also recommends walnuts and other foods rich in the antioxidant Exploring the Links between Obesity and Alzheimer ’ s Disease .(June 1, 2006). Research shows diet , exercise , and lifestyle choices can all contribute to lowering your risk for Alzheimer ' s disease.

“This is a therapeutic approach that was shown to not only maintain, but improve cognition in people with the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s,” says Richard Isaacson, a neurologist and first author on the study.

While researchers struggle to develop a drug to treat or cure Alzheimer’s, some doctors are recommending lifestyle changes. Dr. Isaacson began developing personalized prevention plans for patients of all ages in 2013 when he started the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, of which he is now director.

Alzheimer’s disease starts in the brain some 20 to 30 years before symptoms emerge, so intervening early through personalized medicine and lifestyle changes can make a difference, says Dr. Isaacson.

For the study, Dr. Isaacson and co-researchers enrolled 154 patients, who ranged in age from 25 to 86, in two groups. There was a small group of 35 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often a precursor to dementia, and a larger group of 119 patients who had no symptoms of memory loss, though some had less-than-ideal performance on cognitive tests.

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Alzheimer ’ s affects around 5.7 million people in the United States, and researchers expect the numbers to grow as people live for longer. What causes most forms of dementia, including Alzheimer ’ s , remains a mystery. Genetic factors may play a role, but environmental factors might increase the

Alzheimer ' s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. Alzheimer ' s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that disrupts a person's ability to function independently.

Based on a battery of blood, genetic and cognitive tests, as well as measurements of their body fat and muscle mass, patients received a couple of dozen personalized recommendations ranging from eating specific types of fish and berries, to taking certain vitamins, and tailored exercise plans.

Eighteen months later, they took a series of very sensitive cognitive tests which may detect cognitive decline before memory problems outwardly appear, says Dr. Isaacson. The majority of both groups of patients showed statistically significant improvements when compared with their baseline, as well as compared with historical control groups.

Most surprising, says Dr. Isaacson, is that the MCI patients who followed at least 60% of their recommendations showed cognitive improvement. However, MCI patients who followed less than 60% of the recommendations experienced cognitive declines similar to the control groups, he notes.

In the larger group of patients, everyone—including those who didn’t follow a large percentage of recommendations—performed better on the cognitive tests compared with their baseline and control groups 18 months later. On average, younger people showed more improvement on the cognitive tests compared with people over 60, says Dr. Isaacson. Patients in both groups had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.

Obesity in midlife linked to higher dementia risk in older women

  Obesity in midlife linked to higher dementia risk in older women Women who were obese at the start of the study had in the long term a 21 per cent greater risk of dementia compared with slimmer womenThe study involved 1,137,000 women born in the UK between 1935 and 1950. They had an average age of 56 and did not have dementia at the start of the study when they were asked about their height, weight, diet and exercise. A BMI between 20 and 25 was considered desirable and a BMI of 30 or higher was considered obese.

The MIND diet - a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets - was linked to reduced Alzheimer ' s risk in a new study, even among A new diet developed by researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer ’ s disease, even for those who

The Link Between Diet , Exercise and Alzheimer ’ s . While researchers struggle to develop a drug to treat or cure Alzheimer ’ s , some doctors are recommending lifestyle changes.

Researchers monitored cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels because they are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And the study tracked patients’ body fat and muscle mass; studies show the memory center of the brain, called the hippocampus, gets smaller as belly size gets larger, says Dr. Isaacson. Patients were assigned exercises based on their body metrics. Other recommendations included targeting stress reduction through activities like meditation, and encouraging brain stimulation by learning a new instrument or foreign language.

Marwan Sabbagh, director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, says the results are promising. “The people who had the targeted intervention and who were high in their adherence did very, very well over the span of 18 months, showing that these strategies work, and I think that’s a very encouraging result,” says Dr. Sabbagh of the study. “That is where the trend is going.”

Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minn., called the study encouraging but cautioned that lifestyle changes aren’t a magic bullet. “Does that mean we’re going to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?” he says. “No.” But measures that might help delay the onset are significant. “If we can postpone the onset or slow the progression of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, that’s very important,” he says.

With the Flexi Carb Diet you can lose weight and eat carbohydrates

 With the Flexi Carb Diet you can lose weight and eat carbohydrates © Getty Images Decrease Flexi Carb Diet Carbohydrates carbohydrates have had a bad image for a long time and they were considered fattening foods. Today we know that they are not only particularly important for a healthy and balanced diet, but can also help you lose weight. Carbs ensure a satisfied and long-lasting feeling of satiety. Based on these findings, the nutritionist Prof. Dr. Nicolai Worm developed the Flexi Carb diet.

Mr. Chambers says he now eats blueberries or strawberries, which are high in antioxidants, at least two to three times a week. He eats more of certain kinds of fish to get more Omega 3 fatty acids, which can decrease inflammation and improve cardiovascular and brain health. And he adds powdered cocoa flavanols to his morning coffee because studies show they can combat insulin resistance and promote cognitive function.

He also listens to more music, particularly classical music, and tweaked his workouts to include more high-intensity interval training. The biggest change, he says, was a concerted effort to get more and better sleep by meditating and cutting back on screens before bedtime. “I took a lot of steps to really try to be consistent and to prioritize sleeping more and improve the quality of my sleep,” he says. “Once that changed, we really started to see improvements in all areas.” He is no longer prediabetic and his blood pressure and cholesterol levels have improved.

Diana Gabriel, a 74-year-old artist and fashionista in Manhattan, says five years ago she couldn’t remember what restaurant she went to the night before. After hearing Dr. Isaacson speak, she went to see him at his clinic.

Within a year she says she noticed major improvements in her memory—improvements which were validated through cognitive tests.

Changes she has made, she says, include intermittent fasting—or not eating for 12 hours overnight, which is linked to lower insulin resistance. She cut out most carbohydrates from her diet and also eats wild fish. She started taking about eight different types of vitamins and supplements and she does weight lifting twice a week with a personal trainer to gain muscle mass. “It’s working,” she says. “I’m getting biceps.”

: These risks are associated with the low-carb diet

: These risks are associated with the low-carb diet Losing weight © Getty Images diet The low-carb diet, which consumes less carbohydrates , has developed a new weight loss trend that no longer allows any carbohydrates . This extreme diet, called zero-carb diet, may be a good way to lose weight quickly, but it does involve risks that you shouldn't take. Losing weight: These four risks are associated with the low-carb diet 1.

“I can tell you yesterday I went for training and then I went to a jewelry workshop and I went for wine with my friend and we met an interesting guy at the bar with the Newport Jazz Festival,” she says. “I remember yesterday. For a year or almost two, I could not. My memory is not perfect. But this has really given me a new lease on life.”

Here are some of the lifestyle changes that Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork Presbyterian, says might help improve your cognitive abilities, depending on your body type and medical profile. Patients should consult a doctor before taking any steps.

*Eat a half-cup of blueberries and strawberries two to three times a week.

*Eat two to three servings per week of wild fish, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

*Add powdered cocoa flavanols to coffee, smoothies or skim milk.

*Practice good sleep hygiene: Sleep at least 7.5 hours a day, avoid caffeinated drinks after 1 p.m., go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid electronics, texting and email 30-45 minutes before bed.

*Exercise at least three times a week with a mix of aerobic and resistance/weight training.

*Have one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil daily.

*Cut back on sugar and carbohydrates and look for whole grains and foods with high amounts of fiber.

*Play a musical instrument.

*Learn something new, such as a foreign language.

*Minimize stress through activities like meditation.

Write to Sumathi Reddy at sumathi.reddy@wsj.com

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