The statistics are staggering. According to The Wall Street Journal, "some 5.2 million people in the U.S. had Alzheimer's disease in 2014, a number that is expected to about triple by 2050." It's enough to make people take drastic measures. People like 30-something Max Lugavere, who was profiled in the very same Wall Street Journal article. Lugavere, whose mother has experienced memory loss but who has no symptoms himself, has made diet and exercise changes in hopes of having a different outcome. "The idea that I can take steps today that could benefit my brain and prevent the onset of any kind of neurological issue, I'm all about that," he tells the Journal.
Research into prevention is ongoing. And the jury's still out. It does, however, point to the impact of lifestyle choices (and subsequent changes) on Alzheimer's. Some of this research even suggests that a person's risk of heart disease can also increase their risk of Alzheimer's. Lifestyle choices such as proper nutrition and exercise to prevent heart disease also seem to delay the onset of memory loss.
Prevention centers such as the one Lugavere frequents are cropping across the nation, but not all experts are sold on this concept. As Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center tells WSJ, "There is growing evidence that lifestyle modifications do have an impact on our cognitive aging … but to really say that we can prevent Alzheimer's disease is a bit of a stretch."
Still, there are things that can help. Earlier this year, Dr. Petersen offered these 7 tips on Mayo Clinic Radio:
If you're worried about memory loss, especially if it's getting in the way of your daily life, consult your physician.
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