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Posts Tagged ‘dementia’

Do This to Cut Your Dementia Risk in Half

November 29, 2013

New advances in medical treatments and better understanding of preventative care through screening have increased Americans’ lifespans, but every year additional year merely brings us closer to possible dementia. This was the thinking until recent studies confirmed a simple, foolproof way to cut your risk for developing dementia by 50 percent. Is it an expensive new drug or a doctor-developed brain training Nintendo game? Actually, it’s something much more attainable and significantly cheaper: exercise.


The Costs of Dementia

According to projections by the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with the degenerative condition will increase by 40 percent in the next 12 years. In 2010 alone, dementias (including Alzheimer’s) cost the nation’s families, insurers, and government $172 billion. As the population ages, those costs will only go up, with the figure ballooning to $1 trillion by 2050. Even worse than the financial expense is the impact on what should be one’s golden years; most baby boomers in America will spend their retirement struggling with Alzheimer’s or caring for a loved one who has it.


More Exercise = Bigger Brain

Fortunately, everyone can reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia with simple physical activity. Complex stretching routines or strenuous weightlifting regimens are not required to gain the brain-protecting benefit, either. According to the study published earlier this year, the best results were obtained among subjects who did little more than brisk walking.

How exactly does physical exertion guard against dementia? The most important parts of the brain for complex thinking and forming memories are the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. While their deterioration is a predictor for Alzheimer’s disease, they are also linked to physical exercise. Greater fitness levels correlate with an increase in size among both areas. We often think of growing brains as limited to children and teenagers, but even previously sedentary subjects in their 60s and 70s saw an increase in brain volume when they began exercising for the study.


Next Steps

While the study clearly proved the benefits of walking, some questions remain unanswered. Do the gains in cognition and mood persist if the subject stops exercising? What is the minimum of activity needed and is there an upper limit of intensity and frequency after which there is no additional benefit for the brain? Subjects in the study walked 3 to 45 minutes each day, so that’s the best starting point for anyone interested in dementia prevention.

Find more resources on Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention from Life Line Screening now:


Study: Atrial Fibrillation Could Show Signs of Early Dementia

September 18, 2013

The medical community has yet to find a cure for both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, two cognitive disorders that affect more than 5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As the public waits for a cure, people can take steps to minimize their risk and improve their overall health, particularly in regards to heart disease prevention.

A recent study from the University of Alabama shows a connection between atrial fibrillation, the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm, and earlier onset of dementia symptoms. One theory for the link between the two conditions is that chronic heart conditions affect blood flow in the body, including the brain. When the brain doesn’t get enough blood flow, it reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients the brain receives.

Atrial fibrillation, commonly called AFib, can also cause what is known as “silent strokes.” A silent stroke can cause many of the same symptoms of a full blown stroke such as slurred speech and dizziness but to a lesser degree, according to MedLine Plus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health. AFib makes people more prone to developing clots in their atria leading to these silent mini-strokes that have do significant damage to the brain.

The clear link between AFib and early dementia backs up what the medical community has already found regarding prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Doctors have long promoted heart disease prevention as a way to maintain healthy brain functions.


The Importance of AFib Awareness

Heart disease prevention ensures proper circulation so all organs, especially the brain, receive the oxygen and nutrients they need. Preventing heart disease can also lower a person’s risk for other dementia risk factors like stroke and diabetes.

As the population ages, AFib will likely become a more common ailment. In fact, a recent Reuters article declares that if current trends continue, the number of Americans with atrial fibrillation will more than double in the next 16 years. The Centers for Disease Control predicts as many as 12 million people will have the condition by the year 2050, a significant percentage of the population.

Atrial fibrillation screening from Life Line Screening can help identify the condition early so that fast treatment can be sought. Medication, surgery and lifestyle changes can help treat AFib.

Even though AFib is a problem in the heart, it can impact other areas of the body, including the brain. Healthy lifestyle changes can also impact all areas of the body and lower risk for not just one condition, but multiple conditions. The above is just one example.

Life Line Screening: Friday Roundup Blog Post – April 13th

April 13, 2012

Friday Roundup:


During Alcohol Awareness Month – More Studies Support Moderate Alcohol Consumption for Heart Health

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and while there are many, many examples out there in society of the dangers of alcohol excess, there is also ongoing good news about alcohol’s heart-healthy effects to be noted. Two recent studies conducted by Canadian researchers found that those who consume alcohol moderately (1 drink a day for women and 1-2 drinks a day for men) are 14 to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease than their non-drinking associates, and that moderate alcohol consumption regardless of the type of alcohol consumed (beer, wine, liquor) actually raises the levels of ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL) in the bloodstream, which acts to protect against heart disease. Of course, there are many reasons for not drinking at all, including religious beliefs and addiction risk. You can still be healthy without alcohol, but for those choose to drink at safe limits, it is nice to know that it can be heart healthy.

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“Central Obesity” May Lead to Greater Risks of Dementia

Our doctors, our siblings, our friends, even our parents are all encouraging us to exercise – and they’ve got plenty of good reasons that we’ve all heard time and again. But here’s one reason you may not have heard before – a Kaiser Permanente researcher and his colleagues in California have discovered an apparent link between mid-section abdominal weight in the middle years, known as “central obesity,” and dementia in senior years. Studies on over 6,000 people measured abdominally in the mid-1960s to 1970s found that people with the thickest bellies had over 3 times the risk of dementia than those with the lowest abdominal diameters. Though there are several theories as to why this would be the case, the bottom line is that excess weight carried in the mid-section of the body can be bad for your brain as well as your heart.

Read full article in detail at:


Get Your Vegetarian Passover Ideas Here!

While Passover is now concluding for the year, it’s never too early to think about next year’s Passover meal and ways you can make it healthier for your family, neighbors…even your rabbi. The venerable New York Times recently published a great article about vegetarian Passover meals completely devoid of animal flesh. Tasty, aromatic and beautiful to look at, we though recipes like Bitter Herbs Salad and Moroccan Fava Bean & Vegetable Soup just had to be passed on as opposed to passed over for our Jewish readers. We hope you enjoy them!

Read full article in detail at:


Dental X-Rays Linked to Brain Tumors in New US Study

No one likes to go to the dentist and hear bad news about their teeth, but it turns out one of the very processes used to evaluate our teeth might be giving us much worse than a cavity. Following up on our Roundup post from last Friday concerning the reduction in frequency of many standardized medical tests, a new study released in the U.S. journal Cancer reports that individuals who receive regular dental x-rays are more likely to develop a common type of brain tumor. This will of course be a controversial finding but we’ll keep you informed as we learn more about this story. In the meantime, get your teeth cleaned twice a year by your dentist to keep a healthy mouth, beautiful smile, and reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The plaque found in your mouth is related to the plaque in your arteries. If you have concerns about your x-ray exposure, make sure to discuss them with your dentist.

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