Smart Ways To Lower Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s

By the year 2050, the number of Americans over 65 who are living with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to approach 14 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Because the brain changes in Alzheimer’s may start years or even decades before symptoms emerge, many researchers, doctors, and advocates focus on trying to prevent the disease before it begins. Here’s what they advise.

Protect your heart

A 2020 international medical review identified 12 major risk factors for dementia, and four were directly related to heart health: high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and smoking. “We know that what’s bad for the heart is bad for the brain,” says John Morris, MD, FAAN, endowed professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis’ Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. “When we look at lifestyle factors that might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there’s a lot of interest in heart health, diet, and staying very active.” Your doctor can suggest medication and lifestyle changes to get your blood pressure and cholesterol to healthy levels. If you are overweight or obese, ask your doctor for guidance in losing weight, and talk with a nutritionist about a healthy eating plan. If you have diabetes, work closely with your doctor to manage your blood sugar levels. And if you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to quit.

Know your risk factors

Older Black Americans have higher rates of dementia than non-Hispanic Whites, and Black Americans also have higher rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. A 2015 study found that Black patients who had Alzheimer’s disease were more likely to have classic signs like beta-amyloids, as well as more frequent and more severe blood vessel disease. Ask your doctor for help in keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight at healthy levels.

Get moving

Inactivity is another of the 12 major dementia risk factors identified by the 2020 review. “Exercise can be the brain’s first defense against amyloid plaque, which builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease,” says Richard Isaacson, MD, FAAN, a neurologist and director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York–Presbyterian Hospital. “Burning body fat and building muscle mass can boost metabolism, which helps maintain brain health over time,” Dr. Isaacson says. Any type of activity—walking, dancing, bicycling—can make a difference. Aim for 30 minutes a day if you can.

Stay socially and mentally active

Get together regularly with family and friends; work or volunteer with community groups; meet new people; read or do puzzles daily. Even more important, take a class or learn a new skill. “Learning something new, like another language, helps build vital backup pathways in the brain,” Dr. Isaacson says.

Avoid head injury

A recent review added traumatic brain injury (TBI) to the list of modifiable risk factors. A 2018 study looked at how head trauma—both severe injury, as in a car accident or a fall, and repeated mild injury, like a concussion from sports—increases the risk of dementia. Protect yourself by wearing a seat belt, staying safe when playing sports, and treating any head injury right away.

Treat depression, hearing loss, and substance abuse

Primary risk factors for dementia include problems as varied as excessive alcohol consumption, hearing loss, and depression. A 2018 review of three dozen studies found links between hearing loss in midlife and developing dementia; if you can get hearing aids, wear them as much as possible. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. And if you believe you may have symptoms of depression—such as frequent or extreme sadness, self-isolating tendencies, or thoughts of harming yourself—reach out to anyone you can for help: friends, family, co-workers, your doctor, or services like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Source: Brain and Life

‘Dream Fountain’ Afternoon Tea of Kirby Cafe in Tokyo in Japan

The tea set will be available until November. The price is 2,948 yen (tax included).

Common Eye Conditions Tied to Higher Risk for Dementia

Ernie Mundell and Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Diseases that can rob you of vision as you age also appear to be tied to an increased risk for dementia, a new study finds.

Specifically, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes-related eye disease were linked with a higher likelihood of dementia, researchers in China said. However, one other common eye ailment, glaucoma, was not linked to dementia risk.

The new study can’t prove that vision problems cause dementia, only that the two appear to be associated, the researchers stressed. Risks for dementia rose even higher if other chronic ills were added in.

“Newly developed hypertension, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and depression mediated [affected] the association between cataract/ diabetes-related eye disease and dementia,” noted the researchers led by Dr. Xianwen Shang, an ophthalmologist at Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou. His team published the findings Sept. 13 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

One expert in the United States agreed that the findings don’t mean that eye trouble causes dementia.

“The exact mechanism or reason that the eye disease could increase someone’s risk of dementia was not fully discussed in the study,” said Dr. Matthew Gorski, an ophthalmologist at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

For example, he said, “since cataracts are a treatable, reversible condition, I would be curious what effect cataract surgery has on one’s risk of developing dementia. It is also interesting that glaucoma, another potentially blinding eye condition, was not associated with an increased risk of dementia and raises further questions as to how these diseases are related to dementia.”

In the new study, Shang’s group collected data on more than 12,300 British adults, ages 55-73, who took part in the UK Biobank study. The participants were assessed between 2006 and 2010 and followed up until early 2021.

Over that time more than 2,300 people developed dementia.

The researchers found that compared with people who did not have vision conditions at the start of the study, the risk of dementia was 26% higher among those with age-related macular degeneration, 11% higher in those with cataracts, and 61% higher in those with diabetes-related eye disease. Glaucoma was not tied with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but it was linked with a higher risk of vascular dementia, such as can happen after a stroke.

Participants who had diabetes, heart disease, stroke and depression along with vision problems had an even greater risk of dementia as were those with more than one vision problem, the researchers noted.

Dr. Mark Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reading over the findings, he said they suggest that older people with illnesses affecting multiple organs — including the eyes — have higher odds for dementia.

“There may be an additive effect of ophthalmic and systemic diseases” on dementia risk, Fromer said.

For his part, Gorski said “patients should use the results of this study as a reminder of the importance of having regular eye exams with your eye doctor, especially as you get older.”

Source: HealthDay

Pea, Basil and Feta Fritters with Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups frozen peas, quickly defrosted (you can use the pan you’ll fry the fritters in)
3/4 cup plain/all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
2/3 cup whole milk
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
30 fresh basil leaves, torn into small shreds
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and black pepper, to season
3-1/2 oz prosciutto, to serve

Roasted Tomatoes

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. For the roast tomatoes, put the halved cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until the tomatoes are lightly caramelized. Turn the oven off.
  4. Make the fritters. Lightly defrost the peas over medium heat in a saucepan.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, egg, milk and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Stir in the crumbled feta, torn basil and defrosted peas. Season well.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the frying pan/skillet. Spoon 1-1/2 tablespoons of batter per fritter into the hot pan. Cook the fritters in batches over medium heat until you see small holes appearing on the surface.
  7. Gently flip with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to the still-warm oven while you make the rest.
  8. Serve the fritters with the roasted tomatoes and prosciutto.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: 100 Ways with Eggs


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