Today’s talk is about hope. We have ways to lower our risk of mental decline. You are not a slave to your genetics. The things that truly lower your risk are things that are not even related to your brain. Most important is keeping your brain young. Your brain has a chronological and a biological age. At any age, your brain can be younger or older depending on a range of factors.
Senility is considered to be an incorrect term. It is no longer used in the brain science community. Dementia is not a disease. It’s just a set of symptoms such as difficulty making decisions or memory loss. Concerning dementia, the first question is to ask if you have sleep apnea. It is closely related to memory loss. It can bring on memory loss 10 years earlier. But it is reversible. You reinforce memory if you have the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Treating it can preserve memory. The gold standard for determining whether you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep study performed.
There is a difference between dementia, which is symptoms, as opposed to Alzheimer’s, which can cause dementia. There are 200 known causes of dementia in addition to Alzheimer’s. Twenty percent of all dementia is easily treatable. The causes can be hormone imbalances, medications, or vitamin deficiencies. 95% of what we know about Alzheimer’s has been discovered in the past 15 years!
There was so much interesting content in this presentation that I could go on for pages. Here are just a few details you can use to help keep your brain young:
* Learn something new outside your brain’s comfort level. Could be a new sport (golf anyone?), musical instruments, painting, or dancing.
* Hearing loss is related to memory loss. Without hearing we are unable to learn. Treatment will help to keep your memory strong. Get your hearing treated if you are experiencing any hearing loss.
* Your immune system can attack the brain and some Alzheimer’s research indicated that it is related to inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease are impacted by inflammation. It can affect your brain and (ask your physician to run a CRP test) – this will tell if you have inflammation in the blood. If you have positive results you can begin work on ways to reduce inflammation.
* There is a relationship between food and brain health. What is good for your heart is good for your brain. Mind-based diets such as the Mediterranean diet can lower your risk by 35%-50% depending on how strictly you adhere to it.
* 40% of adult anxiety can be traced to an inflamed thyroid gland. If traditional treatments for anxiety or depression are not effective, have some testing done on your thyroid.
That’s it for this morning. Off to another full day of sessions! It gets to a high of 83 degrees today. Unfortunately we can only watch it through the hotel windows as sessions go until 6:00 PM. Have a great day.