Half of women, third of men will develop dementia, stroke or Parkinson’s – CNN

(CNN)Nearly half of women and a third of men over the age of 45 will develop Parkinson’s, dementia or stroke during their lifetime, a new study says.

The three conditions are among the leading causes of mortality and disability in the older population, with global costs estimated to be 2% of the annual world gross domestic product.

“Usually we hear about heart disease and about cancer but for some reason, there is less focus on these diseases,” said lead researcher Kamran Ikram, associate professor of neurology and epidemiology at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The study observed 12,102 individuals from Rotterdam over 26 years, carrying out full medical checks every four years. Over the course of the study, starting in 1990 and ending in 2016, a total of 1,489 people were diagnosed with dementia, 1,285 with stroke and 263 with Parkinson’s. Four hundred thirty-eight people were diagnosed with multiple diseases.
“These numbers are alarmingly high,” Ikram said.
The team found that 48.2% of women and 36.2% of men developed one of the three conditions.

Women had a higher risk of developing dementia and stroke, with a 31.4% chance of developing dementia after the age of 45, compared with an 18.6% chance among men. Women had a 21.6% chance of developing stroke compared to 19.3% of men, according to the study published Tuesday in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
Ikram suggested that longer life expectancies for females was the underlying reason for the different rates women and men face.
The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease was near equal for both genders, with women having a 4.3% risk and men a 4.9% risk of developing the disease.

“From a societal point of view, it is important to have these numbers in terms of planning for health care providers,” said Ikram, citing the lack of therapies addressing the root causes of the three brain diseases. “We do have symptomatic treatments, but we need to focus more research efforts to find durable treatments for these diseases.”
Previous studies have shown that neurological diseases such as dementia and stroke received less research funding in the UK than diseases such as cancer — with 64% of the UK’s charity and government funding going to cancer research compared to 11% being assigned to dementia research and 7% to stroke.

The risk of developing stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s steadily increase with people’s age, says the study.
Between the ages of 45 and 65, women have a 2.6% chance and men a 3.2% chance of developing one of the three conditions. The risk rises as people age — beyond age 45, women have a more than 48% risk of developing one of these conditions during their lifetimes, and men have more than a 36% risk.

Taking proactive measures

Patients diagnosed with these neurological diseases were also more likely to have a higher prevalence of other health issues at the beginning of the study, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation — an irregular heartbeat.

James Pickett, head researcher at the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, said: “This study further highlights the well-established fact that women are at a greater risk of dementia than men, but shows how taking proactive healthy lifestyle measures can significantly lessen that dementia risk, regardless of age.”
“As researchers found that people who had dementia were more likely to have had high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, what we can take from this is that healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a Mediterranean-style diet, exercising regularly and not smoking can make a real impact on reducing dementia risk, and it’s never too late to start. We need more research to better understand the link between heart and brain health.”

A recent study suggested that a Mediterranean diet can reduce risks of developing dementia.

Ikram’s findings highlight that if diagnoses of any of the three diseases are delayed by one, two or three years, the potential risk of developing the disease drops by 20% to 50%.
Dr. Claudia Cooper, professor at UCL Psychiatry and consultant old age psychiatrist, said: “If we look at key factor of dementia, like lifestyle factors such as diets, exercise, less social isolation and not smoking, and if we address these factors, then there is a likelihood that we delay or prevented a third of dementia cases,” she said.
“We are realizing more and more that if we can prevent or delay these diseases in old age we can have a very important impact on wellbeing for the older population.”

Why diagnosing Alzheimer’s today is so difficult—and how we can do better

When I announced that I was investing in Alzheimer’s research for the first time last fall, I thought I knew what to expect. I knew I would get to engage more deeply with the brilliant scientists and advocates working to stop Alzheimer’s—and I haven’t been disappointed. The things I’ve seen over the last seven months make me more hopeful than ever.

What I didn’t see coming was the amazing response I got from the Alzheimer’s community at large. Because my family didn’t talk publicly about my dad’s diagnosis before the announcement, I had yet to experience how remarkable the support community is. So many of you have shared your personal experiences with me, both in person and online (including here on TGN). It helps to hear from others who are going through the same thing.

Alzheimer’s research is a frontier where we can dramatically improve human life—both the lives of people who have the disease and their loved ones. I’m optimistic that we can substantially alter the course of Alzheimer’s if we make progress in several key areas. One of the biggest things we could do right now is develop a reliable, affordable, and accessible diagnostic.

The process of getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s today is less than ideal. It starts with a cognitive test. If you don’t perform well, your doctor needs to rule out all other possible causes for memory loss, like stroke or a nutritional deficiency. Then your doctor can order a spinal tap or PET scan to confirm you have Alzheimer’s. Although these tests are fairly accurate, the only way to diagnose the disease definitively is through an autopsy after death.

There are two big problems with this process. First, it can be expensive and invasive. Most insurance plans in the United States won’t reimburse tests for Alzheimer’s. Patients often pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets. Meanwhile, spinal taps can be scary and uncomfortable, and PET scans require the patient to stay perfectly still for up to 40 minutes. That’s difficult for anyone to do—but especially someone with Alzheimer’s.

Second, patients aren’t being tested for the disease until they start showing cognitive decline. The more we understand about Alzheimer’s, the clearer it becomes that the disease begins much earlier than we previously thought. Research suggests Alzheimer’s starts damaging the brain more than a decade before symptoms start showing. That’s probably when we need to start treating people to have the best shot at an effective drug.

This delay is a huge problem in the quest for a scientific breakthrough. It’s currently so difficult to find enough eligible patients for a clinical trial that it can take longer to enroll participants than to conduct the study. We need a better way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s—like a simple blood test or eye exam—before we’re able to slow the progression of the disease.

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem. It’s hard to come up with a game changing new drug without a cheaper and less invasive way to diagnose patients earlier. But most people don’t want to find out if they have the disease earlier when there’s no way to treat it. The commercial market for Alzheimer’s diagnostics simply isn’t there. There’s promising research being done, but very few companies are looking at how to turn that research into a usable product.

That’s why my next investment in Alzheimer’s research is in a new fund called Diagnostics Accelerator. This project of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) aims to accelerate bold new ideas for earlier and better diagnosis of the disease. Today I’m joining Leonard Lauder, ADDF, the Dolby family, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and other donors in committing more than $30 million to help launch Diagnostics Accelerator.

Diagnostics Accelerator is a venture philanthropy vehicle, which means it’s different from most funds. Investments from governments or charitable organizations are fantastic at generating new ideas and cutting-edge research—but they’re not always great at creating usable products, since no one stands to make a profit at the end of the day. Venture capital, on the other end of the spectrum, is more likely to develop a test that will actually reach patients, but its financial model favors projects that will earn big returns for investors.

Venture philanthropy splits the difference. It incentivizes a bold, risk-taking approach to research with an end goal of a real product for real patients. If any of the projects backed by Diagnostics Accelerator succeed, our share of the financial windfall goes right back into the fund.

My hope is that this investment builds a bridge from academic research to a reliable, affordable, and accessible diagnostic. I expect to see lots of new players come to the table, who have innovative new ideas but might not have previously had the resources to explore them. If you think you’re one of these bold thinkers, we want to hear your great ideas. I encourage you to apply for funding on the new Diagnostics Accelerator website here.

Imagine a world where diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is as simple as getting your blood tested during your annual physical. Research suggests that future isn’t that far off, and Diagnostics Accelerator moves us one step closer.

New approach to Alzheimer’s fight: Diabetes drugs

Johnson and Johnson recently announced that it was halting a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer’s drug after safety issues emerged. This latest failure adds to the dozens of large, costly clinical trials that have shown no effect in treating this devastating disease.
The growing list of failures should give us pause for thought — have we got the causes of Alzheimer’s all wrong?
In the first analysis of the disease, the German physician Alois Alzheimer noted odd changes in the brain of a patient who died of the condition. Alzheimer identified two kinds of protein aggregates that are not found in younger brains: plaques that are found between brain cells and tangles that are found inside brain cells.
Later research identified the proteins that made up the plaques as amyloid and those that form the tangles as tau. What these structures actually do is still under debate.

Unheeded warning

Alzheimer advised scientists not to jump to the conclusion that these proteins caused the disease. Unfortunately, his caution was ignored, and over the years it has become gospel that the build up of these proteins causes Alzheimer’s disease.
One problem is that it’s not possible to test, in a scientific experiment, if this theory is correct. Only in recent years has technology been developed that can test what these proteins do, and it is clearly not what scientists previously assumed. For example, genetically engineered mice that accumulate human amyloid in their brains show only mild impairment. But the pharmaceutical industry made up its mind a long time ago that amyloid is the culprit, and this has been the target for Alzheimer’s drugs ever since.
The aim of these drugs is to reduce the levels of amyloid in the brain, either by slowing down the formation of amyloid or by removing it from the brain. Both approaches have been tested many times now using different techniques and drug types. None of these trials have shown any effects, and some large drug companies, including Pfizer, have abandoned this area of research altogether.
The continued failure of new drugs to make a difference has to be interpreted as evidence that the amyloid protein is not the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Some companies have changed their target to the tau protein. But again, drugs companies are assuming that a single protein is the cause of the disease.

Promising new avenues

Perhaps it is time to rethink the disease altogether. One approach is to look for genes that increase the risk of developing the disease. The problem with this approach is that there are surprisingly few of these genes, and they are rare. Alzheimer’s does not appear to be driven by gene mutations, so this approach does not shed new light on the Underlying processes.
Another option is to look at the risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s. One of these is type 2 diabetes. Clearly, diabetes is very different from Alzheimer’s disease, so what’s the connection?
In diabetes, insulin becomes less effective at controlling blood sugar levels. But insulin does a lot more than just control blood sugar; it is a “growth factor”. Neurons (brain cells) are very dependent on growth factors, and if they don’t get enough, they die.
The loss of insulin’s growth factor effects in the brain appear to make neurons vulnerable to stress and reduce the brain’s ability to repair damage that accumulates over time. (Neurons live as long as we do, so there is a lot of time for damage to accrue.)
When looking at brain tissue taken from deceased Alzheimer’s patients, researchers found that insulin lost its effectiveness as a growth factor, even in people who were not diabetic. This observation suggests that diabetes drugs might be an effective treatment for people with Alzheimer’s. Some experiments showed impressive results in animal studies, and several clinical trials have started.
Testing these drugs in animal models of another neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease, also showed impressive effects, and two clinical trials in Parkinson’s patients showed good protective effects. In one of the trials — a pilot study — the patients who received the diabetes drug did not get any worse for two years while the control group, who received a standard treatment for Parkinson’s, deteriorated significantly. The other trial, a larger trial with a placebo control, confirmed this result and showed no deterioration in the drug group during the 12 months of study.
To see any protective effect in the brain in a clinical trial is completely new, and it supports the new theory that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are caused, at least in part, by a lack of growth factor activity in the brain. These new theories bring a fresh view on how these diseases develop and increase the likelihood of developing a drug treatment that makes a difference.
Christian Holscher is a professor of neuroscience at Lancaster University. He receives funding from the Cure Parkinson’s Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Very interesting article regarding international research and care for Seniors. Enjoy!

Very interesting article regarding international research and care for Seniors. Enjoy!
http://www.caringfortheages.com/article/S1526-4114(18)30020-9/fulltext

Dr. Gourmet serves up culinary treats to protect brain health


The brain-health benefits of walnuts and berries are promoted heavily by those industries, but Harlan says the marketing claims are legitimate.

“There’ve been a lot of studies done with walnuts and blueberries specifically, because they’ve been funded by the walnut and blueberry guys,” he says. “While you always are a little questionable about the quality of those studies, I don’t think anybody is going to say walnuts and blueberries aren’t good for you.”

A heaping helping of health

Harlan is uniquely qualified to teach food as medicine; after all, he’s worked in both worlds.

He entered the culinary arts early, managing a restaurant at the age of 18. He studied under top chefs and opened his own French bistro. He eventually left that to study hotel and restaurant management, but a career in medicine called. He received his degree from the Emory University School of Medicine.

Harlan is a practicing, board-certified internist and a nationally recognized expert in food and nutrition who has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN. His website, drgourmet.com, offers evidence-based information on diet, health and wellness. He has been an on-air expert for the show “Cooking Thin” on the Food Network and won an Emmy for his public broadcast program “The Dr. Gourmet Show.”

He’s also published several books, including “Just Tell Me What to Eat!,” a six-week plan for healthy eating that features his favorite tips and plenty of mouth-watering recipes.

Harlan believes that “eating great food is the easiest path to health.” And he says getting started down that path can be easier than you think.

Tiny steps, big gains

The secret is to take small steps. Just work to improve your diet a bit at a time. Harlan makes that simple for you by breaking the Mediterranean Diet down into nine basic elements. You can see those in the table below.

Pick one of those elements, and incorporate it into your diet. Maybe you’ll set a goal of having a banana every morning. Or maybe you want to cut back on red meat and eat a little more fish.

One way to know you’re improving your eating habits is to keep score, based on the Mediterranean diet table of foods.

Give yourself one point for each one of the nine food elements that you eat the recommended amount of. Over time, see how many points you can earn, but don’t feel you have to make radical changes to your diet all at once. Harlan says adopting even a few of these food recommendations can serve to improve your health.

“It doesn’t take a lot to get a point on the Mediterranean diet score for, say, increasing your amount of legumes,” he says. “That works out to a nice handful of peanuts, or choosing to have beans as your side dish, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Harlan encourages you to make simple changes, such as eating a piece of fruit every day. And it helps to choose whole foods that come from plants.

“It’s really just about trying to consume more legumes, more vegetables, more whole grains, and more fruits and nuts,” he says. “Those four points — which are actually five different ingredients — those are all plant-based ingredients, and the more you’re doing those plant-based ingredients and the less you’re consuming the animal-based protein, the healthier you’re going to be.”

The guide below offers detailed information on how to incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your weekly eating plan. It is reprinted with permission of the Goldring Center, and you can download a PDF from the center’s website.

For cancer patients, tattoo removal can be sign of hope

For NJ Advance Media
While Lisa Eyerkuss successfully beat back breast cancer four years ago, she was left with a visible reminder of the experience: four tiny black radiation markers on her chest and one on her back.

“They’re small and it’s not that I’m a vain person, but when I wear a low-cut dress or am getting dressed after a shower, I can see those dots,” said the 57-year-old Little Silver resident. “Some women see them as battle scars that they earned, but they have a bad connection for me.”

She assumed she was stuck with them. However, progress in the field of laser surgery means the markers can be now removed much more easily than ever.

That has led one breast surgeon, Stephen Chagares, of Tinton Falls, to partner with a plastic surgery practice to remove them without charge for cancer patients.

‘WE vs. C’ ballet tells breast cancer survivors’ stories
‘WE vs. C’ ballet tells breast cancer survivors’ stories
Roxey Ballet parntered with the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Survivors Resource Center to create this unique performance starring professional dancers and breast cancer survivors.

“Many people’s marks are hidden, so they don’t mind them, while others see them as a badge of honor that they don’t want to remove,” Chagares said of the blue-black, 3-4 millimeter-sized dots placed on the body to align the radiation dose and ensure it is aimed at the same target each treatment session.

For some breast cancer patients, however, visible spots near the cleavage or throat make them self-conscious, he said. “For these individuals, the markers essentially reveal their medical identity without their consent, exposing to the world that they had breast cancer or some other cancer that involved radiation – which may be very uncomfortable for them,” he said.

When Chagares heard that colleagues at the nearby Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury had acquired a high-speed laser that reduced the tattoo removal process from as many as a dozen sessions to as few as three, he came up with a way to help his patients shed that souvenir of treatment.

Since Chagares was already trained in laser surgery, he wondered if he could use the Center’s machine for his patients at times when the machine would otherwise be idle.

How family hit twice by cancer got by: ‘One small victory at a time’
How family hit twice by cancer got by: ‘One small victory at a time’
While Maddox Shepard was undergoing treatment for childhood leukemia, his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The plastic surgery practice readily agreed to share its laser with Chagares. “We’re very involved with the breast cancer community, and this program is a great fit that we feel good to be a part of,” said Plastic Surgery Center reconstructive surgeon Andrew Elkwood.

The program was launched earlier this year. Since then more than a dozen breast cancer patients have already had their radiation marks removed.

inRead invented by Teads

Most insurance plans don’t cover removal of radiation markers, Chagares said, a reality that made him even more intent on offering this service — which could normally cost individuals up to $1,000 – for free to anyone who wants it.

Eyerkuss, the breast cancer survivor, said he was thrilled to see her markers nearly disappear as the laser sessions went along. “Those marks bring me back to a really difficult time in my life, and we shouldn’t have to live with something that triggers bad memories,” she said.

“It helps a woman or man come through it, go back to work, and be themselves again. They don’t have to be pitied or reminded of their experience for the rest of their lives,” said Chagares.

He said tha as far as he knows, no one else in the state is offering a free ongoing program for patients regardless of thetype of cancer or the location of the patient’s treatment. He’d like to see that change.

“My hope is that we become so busy doing these procedures that we inspire other practices statewide to get involved,” he said.

Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease: 8 Daily Habits a Neurologist Swears


When physician Alois Alzheimer came to examine her, Auguste Deter was sitting on a hospital bed. Alzheimer asked, “What’s your name?”

“Auguste,” answered the 51-year-old patient at a Frankfurt hospital.

“Last name?”

“Auguste,” she repeated.

“What’s your husband’s name?”

“Auguste,” she said, sounding confused. “I think.”

While Deter was eating cauliflower and pork for lunch, Alzheimer asked, “What are you eating?”

“Spinach,” Deter answered.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Potatoes.”

Alzheimer jotted down the conversation word for word. At the time, in 1901, doctors had no term to describe Deter’s condition. When the woman died five years later, Alzheimer autopsied her brain and examined it under a microscope. He observed thick fibers, called tangles, that wrapped around the cells’ interiors, crushing their contents. He observed clumps of smooth plaques that filled the space around the cells and distorted their shape.

Alzheimer referred to Deter’s condition as “a serious disease of the cerebral cortex.” Other physicians began diagnosing the disease in patients with similar symptoms. The disease was ultimately named after the physician who first described it. We know it as Alzheimer’s disease.

Breakthroughs Nobody Talks About

The story of Auguste Deter is unsettling. We wish Alzheimer’s disease had remained obscure. But in the United States today, about 5.3 million people have Alzheimer’s. That figure is expected to nearly triple by 2050.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disorder in which the brain’s cells become damaged, causing problems with memory, thinking, and speaking skills, as well as changes in behavior. Plaques and tangles in the brain are the hallmark features. Though new diagnostic tests allow us to see them, the imaging is expensive and not widely available. For the majority of patients, doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s based on symptoms, once dementia has already started to set in.

I’ve spent the past 25 years researching Alzheimer’s, first at Harvard Medical School and later at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a neurologist, I’ve treated patients who already have a diagnosis or who are at risk. I’ve watched as fascinating research trends have unfolded. While studies have dashed our hopes over and over when it comes to finding a drug or technological treatment, on the other hand, a growing and impressive body of research shows that lifestyle habits can dramatically reduce your risk for developing the disease.

Some of the most remarkable results came from Finnish and Swedish researchers just this past spring. For several years, they followed more than a thousand people (ages 60 to 77) at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Those who changed their habits to include nutritious eating, regular exercise, and intellectual pursuits performed at least 25 percent better on tests of memory, thinking, and problem solving than did other people who kept the same routine. This was enough to delay a dementia diagnosis by two years and reduce the prevalence 25 percent. Had the interventions started earlier in life, the findings might have been even more dramatic.

november 2015 aol service ft protect your brain

Habits of People Who Prevent Dementia

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The evidence is clear: People who regularly do the following have a lower risk of developing cognitive decline.

1. They Get Physical

If a medicine could protect brain cells and encourage the birth of new ones, you’d want to know about it, wouldn’t you? Well, that drug exists. You don’t even need a prescription. Physical activity ranks as the most potent Alzheimer’s protection, study after study has found. People who exercised at least three times a week for a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes a session were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, even if the disease ran in their families, showed research from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Try it: Walk at least a mile every day. A simple walk (the kind you might take with your dog in the morning or a partner after dinner) delivers powerful brain benefits. A University of Pittsburgh study found that those who walked just six to nine miles a week had a greater volume of gray matter in their brains when they were tested nine years later than those who walked less.

Try it: Dance the night away. A study done by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City found that dance reduced risk for dementia more than any other type of physical activity (even more than doing crossword puzzles). If you dance with a group or a partner, you’re being social; learning new steps improves intellectual fitness.

2. They Eat Antioxidant-Rich, Anti-Inflammatory Foods

No one best dietary pattern, food, or supplement leads to optimum brain health. Various diets from around the world protect the brain. What they have in common: rich in plants, low in highly processed foods.

For example, a diet developed at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as much as 53 percent over nearly five years. It showcases ten brain-healthy foods (leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine) while severely restricting red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, sweets and desserts, fried food, and fast food.

Try it: Start meals with a helping of veggies. In a study of 3,718 people (ages 65 and older), those who consumed more than four daily servings had a 40 percent slower rate of cognitive decline than people who had less than one daily serving.

Try it: Spice things up. Herbs and spices add flavor to food, allowing you to cut back on butter, oil, and salt. Curry and turmeric contain the antioxidant curcumin, which several studies show could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (as well as that of cancer, arthritis, and depression). Add them to scrambled eggs, sprinkle them on roasted vegetables, or stir them into rice to spice up a plain pilaf.

3. They Make Time for Friends

You can help ward off loneliness to keep your brain young, according to research from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. Older adults who frequently spent time with others (being part of a book club or a card game, having dinner dates with their friends, visiting family) had a 70 percent lower rate of cognitive decline over 12 years than did seniors with fewer interactions.

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Try it: Make new friends—at any age. Research from the University of Chicago found that many of us assume that meeting new people and making connections is harder than it actually is. When participants struck up conversations with strangers seated next to them during their commutes, they felt better than when they sat in solitude.

Try it: Throw dinner parties. Deciding whom to invite, what to serve, and who should sit next to whom forces your brain to make complex social decisions. Is Erica likely to get along with Jessica? Ensuring dishes are ready when guests arrive requires strategic planning, a high-level skill.

4. They Exercise Their Brains
If you don’t challenge your brain to learn new things (helping kids with their homework, say, or assembling IKEA furniture) it gets flabby. In one study, older adults who frequently did stimulating leisure activities were less likely to develop dementia over 21 years, compared with those who did so less often. Reading, playing board games, practicing musical instruments, and working on puzzles at least several times a week may encourage the growth of new brain cells and connections between them.

Even people who were carriers of a gene linked to Alzheimer’s postponed the development of the disease by almost a decade by immersing in intellectually enriching activities throughout their lives.
One reason we suspect brain workouts are so powerful: taxi drivers in London. To pass their driving tests, taxi drivers have to memorize the locations and names of 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks, along with over 320 possible routes. Two major studies have found that London taxi drivers have an enlarged part of the hippocampus (a brain region that helps process memory) compared with non-taxi drivers and even bigger than bus drivers, who need to memorize only a few possible routes.

Try it: Read to learn. Reading can fill your mind with knowledge. This fuels what some brain scientists call cognitive reserve, or a buffer against dementia symptoms. As mild cognitive impairment begins, the theory goes, cognitive reserve allows you to lose more memories before the loss affects your daily life. (Say you can’t remember the word grouchy. A strong cognitive reserve means you’d drum up grumpy or cranky.) Choose fiction and nonfiction; try new topics. Take notes or highlight as you read to better recall details.

Try it: Learn how to draw, paint, or sculpt. Seniors who took up painting, drawing, or sculpting were 73 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment over a period of four years than were people who did not engage in artistic activities, found a recent Mayo Clinic study. These activities encourage you to focus your attention.