Avoiding Dementia Similar To Heart Disease – Lifestyle Changes Important
March 14, 2012
By David Martin
“This is pretty much common sense. Change your unhealthy lifestyle and get healthy. Duh!” –KTRN
Late-life dementia has a lot in common with heart disease – and many of the same causes, according to an article published Tuesday in Nature Reviews Neurology.
Like heart disease, the cognitive impairment that accompanies aging is usually the result of a combination of lifestyle and other factors, the article says. Diabetes, obesity, untreated hypertension, sedentary lifestyle and stress are all linked to both heart disease and dementia.
Other factors linked to dementia: untreated obstructive sleep apnea, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, vitamin B12 deficiency, post traumatic stress disorder, head trauma, brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, and the ApoE, or Alzheimer’s, gene.
Lead author Dr. Majd Fotuhi says the latest research shows dementia can be delayed, stopped and sometimes even reversed with lifestyle changes.
Fotuhi, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says this is empowering news for anyone worried about dementia or confronting mental decline.
“All of a sudden you can be in charge,” says Fotuhi, who is also chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Research and Fitness. He estimates only a fifth of late-life dementia is Alzheimer’s.
Fotuhi and his colleagues reviewed factors that alter the size of the hippocampus. The hippocampus, a pair of almost thumb-sized structures on either side of the brain, is critical for the formation of new memories.