I read an article last night that sounds good, but I believe it cannot work. The headline is, How to Train Your Brain to Prevent Dementia. (https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/brain-dementia-alzheimers/2022/08/19/id/1083866/) The underlying assumption is that athletes train to become better. Other professionals do the same. It makes sense that brain training would stave off dementia and related diseases.
Disease, especially Alzheimer’s disease (AD), starts decades before it is detected. The proposed study wants to enroll a couple of thousand people over 60. The concentration of this clinical trial focuses on eating right and exercising the body and the brain.
The POINTER study
https://uspointer.net/home.cfm All of us are concerned about the increasing upward trend in all forms of dementia, especially AD. The number of cases could double in the next three decades. Will lifestyle changes lower the risk of dementia? This study hopes it will.
https://alzheimer.ca/en/help-support/im-living-dementia/living-well-dementia/challenging-your-brain Suggestions for brain training include playing games (crossword puzzle, sudoku, chess, etc.), cross-training (read books and listen to podcasts), develop new skills (hobbies to keep the brain active), cardiovascular exercise to increase blood and oxygen flow, buddy up (volunteering and social activities), and sleep. The general guidance for eating will be the Mediterranean diet.
The study participants are expected to have a history of family memory problems, slightly high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood sugar, and exercise less than three times a week. It sounds like a great study.
https://wp.me/p4ztmz-1tQ I have written over 40 articles on AD and related diseases. This article addresses several of the topics of this study.
However, disease starts as chronic low-level cellular inflammation. Left untreated, it can develop into oxidative stress, leading to many pathways for disease progression, again if left untreated. In addition to inflammation and oxidative stress, AD causes can be linked to genetics, chemical imbalance, protein structural issues, and excitotoxicity.
Brain training has little likelihood of addressing genetics, chemical imbalances, protein structural issues, and excitotoxicity. Lifestyle changes may address one or more of these factors. However, it is difficult to make lifestyle changes after age 60 when our habits and comfort zones have been well defined.
I think it is a noble idea to try lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of dementia. However, waiting until 60 years old might be too late. Inflammation and oxidative stress can be addressed with lifestyle options. Lifestyle choices can also control some gene activation.
Excitotoxicity is also a factor that can be tackled with balanced nutrition – not necessarily an assumed factor in ‘eating right.’ The same can be said for chemical (nutritional) imbalances. Eating right does not mean that the food choices include the thirty-plus nutrients the body needs daily.
Protein structural issues remain a significant problem for the further development of AD. Can balanced nutrition, restricted caloric intake, stress and weight management, toxin avoidance, and more might be able to reduce the risk or slow down the advancement of this pathway? I think so.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com