Hints of some steps that may boost brain health in old age
They include controlling high blood pressure, regular exercise and specific memory training exercises.
An NIH report in 2010 argued that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to recommend any intervention to prevent cognitive decline or dementia (see May 2010 news). The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. “‘At least two of them are really good for you” even if the brain link doesn’t pan out.
There are three rays of hope: cognitive training, blood pressure control and exercise.
The researchers said that their findings of three particular measures seems encouraging, even though its not definitive., according to CBS News reports.
“Everyone is worried” about their mental functioning, he said.
If you want to know whether you’re at risk of Alzheimer’s disease, taking this test could help you. “That’s controlling your blood pressure if you have hypertension and engaging in physical exercise“. They also urge researchers to compare different types of cognitive training, blood pressure therapy, and exercise, to see which are most effective.
Despite the explosion of online and commercial products – from supplements to memory games – that allege they can help, there’s very little out there that can be proven to slow or prevent the decline, the experts reluctantly concluded. Evidence from one randomized controlled trial suggests that cognitive training delivered over time and in an interactive context can improve long-term cognitive function as well as help maintain independence in instrumental activities of daily living for adults with normal cognition.
These authors deem this enough evidence to suggest careful management of blood pressure as a way to prevent, slow, or delay Alzheimer’s. But again, that’s not absolutely proven, Leshner said.
Amid the many studies regarding the health benefits of increased physical activity, the experts found that although there is encouraging evidence of its effectiveness against dementia and cognitive decline, there is still now no evidence sufficient enough to support increased physical activity as an effective preventative method.
Peterson said people can make everyday changes in their lives to keep their brains clearer. Similar to the blood pressure advice, what’s good for the heart has always been deemed good for the brain.
There are three interventions that the National Academies that show some promise in this area but still need further research. Good evidence shows that cognitive training can improve performance on a trained task, at least in the short term.
Overall, the committee determined that despite an array of advances in understanding cognitive decline and dementia, the available evidence on interventions derived from randomized controlled trials – considered the gold standard of evidence – remains relatively limited and has significant shortcomings. He directs the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have soared by 55 percent since 1999 in the United States, a report from the CDC showed last week.
However, it’s also possible that “genetic loading” for dementia is so strong in some people that diet and lifestyle will never be enough to prevent mental decline, he said.
“They’re good for a whole bunch of other things”, Leshner said.
Scientists are continuously learning more about the many factors concerning Alzheimer’s disease especially since many families are affected by this most common form of dementia.