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What can you do to prevent dementia?

By Marcus Santer

what can I do to prevent dementia


“Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales
Alzheimers is thought to account for 70% of all dementia cases
As we live longer dementia is predicted to affect more of us
Why do some people suffer and why don’t others?
What can you do to prevent it?”
BBC Radio 4

I was planning to share this information with my Healthy Ageing Digest (HAD) subscribers only.

But two things came to mind on this mornings walk with Louis

  1. This information is too important to only share with my HAD readers
  2. This months HAD is already stuffed to the margins with information

So I’ve decided to share the details with everyone in this free post.

It’s from an interview I heard with neuroscientist Joseph Jeblli on BBC Radio 4

Joseph is the author of “In Pursuit of Memory”

Here are the notes I made:

So what is Dementia?

It’s an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms like:

Alzheimers Disease (AD) describes the underlying disease process giving rise to the symptoms of dementia. So saying someone has dementia is bit like saying someone has cancer. In that it doesn’t identify what kind of cancer they have.

There are global hotspots for AD, some populations don’t seem to get much of it whilst others have lots of it…


The main factor driving the increase is longer life spans.

What is the link between a longer lifespan and an increased likely hood for this disease?

This is one of the trickiest questions to answer at the moment and some people question whether healthy lifestyle choices make a difference. Although there is also mounting evidence to suggest they do. The latest research shows that whatever is good for your heart is also good for your brain.

So adopting the Healthy Ageing Pyramid habits can help to protect you.

There’s also evidence to show keeping your mind mentally engaged in anyway you can – so not just crosswords and Sudoko – helps. Staying engaged with friends and family, reading a new book, learning a new skill, anything that will keep your brain active appears to lower the risk of developing AD.

There’s also exciting research to show that sleep could play a significant role in preventing AD.

In a nutshell, studies show sleep ‘cleanses’ your brain of sticky, toxic proteins called ‘Plagues and tangles’ that build up in your brain.

And it’s the build up of these plaques and tangles that is currently thought to cause AD.

Researchers now know that when you sleep your brain gets rid of those toxins and rejuvenates the surrounding brain tissue.

Of course this means that if you don’t get enough good quality sleep, your brain can’t do the job of cleansing these toxic proteins and rejuvenating surrounding brain tissue.

What’s worse is the plaques and tangles build up and can make it harder for you to get a good nights sleep.

You’re right…

… That’s a vicious cycle.

But why has AD been so hard to cure?

Because despite what anyone else may claim, scientists still don’t understand the disease very well (yet!).

The current thinking is it’s plagues and tangles that cause AD and current drug trials are focusing on clearing these toxic proteins from the brain. With the hope that doing so will restore cognitive function, restore memory impairment and treat the disease.

But research is not clear on the link between plagues and brain cell death, which means it’s hard to be certain if this approach will work. Which means targeting other things in the brain other than just the plagues and tangles.

There is good evidence for the heritability of AD.

Estimates claim 5% of Alzheimers cases are of the early onset genetically determined form of Alzheimers – which can affect people in their 50’s, 40’s and even in their 30’s.

So what?

Well, much of what researchers do know about AD comes from studying the families with this early onset genetically determined form of AD.

We’ve a lot to be grateful for to them.

In this post you learned:

What can you do to prevent dementia?

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love The Healthy Ageing Digest.

Because it’s packed with useful information like this.

Each month, I’ll deliver to your door a 12 page (minimum) letter stuffed full of science backed information to help you stay young for the rest of your life.

You’ll find full details here.


Go here next.

Bye for now


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