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Keep Your Mind Active to Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Jun 18, 2008
Alzheimer's is a well-known, but poorly understood disease. We do have many facts about it: it is a terminal disease, and there is no known cure; it is degenerative; it is the leading cause of dementia (although the disease itself is not dementia, as is commonly believed); and it most frequently affects people over 65 years old. What we don't know is how to cure it - but we have recently found an activity that prone people can do to greatly increase their life span, and quality of life.

Alzheimer's symptoms include memory loss in the early stages (a difficulty in remembering recently learned facts), and this is often attributed to more benign cause, like stress or becoming older. Later, Alzeimer's disease causes language breakdown, confusion, mood swings, anger and long term memory loss. Minor and major bodily functions gradually decline and then are lost, until death occurs. It is often thought that death is coincidental to the fact that Alzheimer's is a disease of the older levels of society - in fact, death is directly attributable to it.

Alzheimer's is thought to be caused by the reduced creation in the body of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Unfortunately, medications which increase acetylcholine production reduce the symptoms of the disease, but do not stop or reverse its progress and effects on the body. It has recently been found that one of the best things you can do if you are found to have the early stages of Alzheimer's, is to keep you mind active.

The study which published these findings involved mice which were bred to have the same plaque characteristics seen in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's. Half the mice were trained to swim to a specific location in a water tank, while the other set were allowed to swim wherever they wanted to. It was found that the mice that went through the training had less plaque for the first twelve months of their life, but by the 15th month of life, their brains had deteriorated to the same state as those that were not trained.

If you continue the learning, htough, it has been found that you can slow the growth of plaque in the brain for as long as you keep your mind active. You don't need to go back to school, or read economics textbooks at night in bed though! Simple activities, that are also pleasurable had the greatest impact. Things like crossword puzzles, reading and building helped fight the formation of plaque in the brain which disrupts the chemical messages and the acetylcholine production and transmission.

While a senior researcher said that the effects of the learning were not enough to overcome more severe pathology and later development, they are now investigating whether more involved and frequent learning will have a bigger impact on the plaque buildup.

Apart from keeping your mind active, keep in touch with your healthcare professionals, and make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12, B6, B5, Vitamin C, selenium, magnesium, calcium, and other important nutrients. You should be able to maintain your stores of all of these nutrients that are essential for fighting Alzheimer's disease simply by eating a balanced diet. Don't self-prescribe vitamins and minerals without the advice of a healthcare professional - the results can be undesirable.
About the Author
Bangkok Hospital - 36 years of advanced medical technology and expertise, complemented with Thai hospitality and compassionate care. Includes the world-renowned Bangkok Heart Hospital and specializing in oncology, neurology and orthopedics. Some of the worlds most advanced minimally invasive diagnostics and treatment procedures are in place.
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