At the recent Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Copenhagen, the Framingham study reported that the number of Alzheimer’s cases for people 60 and older declined in the period between 2006 and 2011 when compared to the period between 1978 and 1982. The study also reported that the decline in the rate of dementia was more prevalent in women.
This federally funded study tracks new dementia cases over five-year periods. Other countries similar to the United States, such as Germany and England have seen similar findings. In poorer countries where there are less opportunities in the areas of health and education, the rates have not declined.
Some of the factors suggested that may have contributed to the results in the United States were that fewer people are smoking and there has been an increased attention to maintaining cardiovascular health with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. One of the concerns is what the trend may look like in future studies with an increase in the rates of obesity and diabetes.
The study leader, Claudia Satizabal of Boston University, stated that “the results bring some hope that perhaps dementia cases be preventable, or at least delayed.” Her thoughts were that improving health and education are important considerations. Dallas Anderson, epidemiology chief at the National Institute on Aging said “For those that get the disease, it may come later in life which is a good thing. Getting the disease in your 80s or 90s is very different than getting it in your early 70s.”
Whether you have walked the journey of Alzheimer’s disease with a friend or loved one or are concerned about your memory challenges, take some time to look at your lifestyle choices. What is good for your heart is good for your brain and healthy lifestyles promote successful aging. You may do pretty well most of the time with your eating and exercise patterns. You may have addressed your issues regarding whether or not you are getting adequate sleep. Or you may be someone who generally makes healthy choices then gets more lackadaisical as time goes on. Maybe it is time to revise, update or make a plan.
TO DO THIS WEEK:
Start by paying attention to your patterns for eating, sleeping and exercise. Are there some other habits you have that might need to be addressed? Change starts with awareness. Pick one area and focus on it for a week.
Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out. Robert Collier