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Do Everything You Can to Keep your Memory Sharp as you Age

- Friday, February 10, 2012

While no one can promise a sure-fire treatment to prevent memory loss, there are strategies that can significantly improve your chances of keeping Alzheimer's at bay.

How to Protect Your Memory and Brain Health

8 Key Strategies Focused on Saving Your Memory

Dr. Peter V. Rabins, acclaimed author and geriatric psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins - and one of the nation's leading experts on the care and management of patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and memory care.

If someone told you there were eight straightforward steps you could take to dramatically enhance your quality of life and reduce or delay your chances for memory deterioration, what would you do?

Many experts believe that once you understand your various risk factors for cognitive decline, take control of them, and follow through with the evidence-based strategies detailed in How To Protect Your Memory and Brain Health, you'll be in a better position to keep your memory strong well into later life.

For example, do you know:

What's the best way to guard your memory and prevent dementia?

If you answered, stay heart healthy, you'd be right. And Dr. Rabins explains why with evidence from recent studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Controlling high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are absolutely critical to cognitive function. Dr. Rabins explains how to take charge.

What are the effects of too little sleep on keeping your memory sharp?

Many of us have trouble sleeping at night. No big deal -- right? Now new studies show that getting adequate sleep plays an essential role in learning new information, relating to names, dates, faces, facts, specific events - in short forming memory.

What's so special about the Mediterranean diet?

For years the marketing and promotion of dietary supplements that claim to enhance memory have left many people confused and wary. Now recent evidence-based research reported in the Annals of Neurology suggests that people who closely follow the Mediterranean diet have a 40 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. The take-away: The food you eat, not the pills, can prevent or slow the rate of cognitive decline.

How does regular physical activity protect memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's?

Studies investigating the exercise/memory/dementia link have shown positive outcomes in recent years. Dr. Rabins provides an in-depth look at a number of key studies to show you the benefits of regular exercise... and how to incorporate exercise into your schedule.

How does stress affect memory?

We all know that living a stress-filled life is unhealthy. It turns out that stress is worse for us than we thought. Johns Hopkins researchers have linked high levels of the stress hormone cortisol with poor cognitive performance in older adults. And another study, reported in the journal Neurology, found that depressed and anxious people are 40% more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. In this fascinating section, Dr. Rabins provides key "stress erasers" - proactive steps you can take to reduce the stress in your life.

Every day, scientists are proving that diminished memory and mental capacity are NOT inevitable - and can be slowed, halted or even reversed through good nutrition, lifestyle habits and more. Even Alzheimer's disease is not something that suddenly occurs in old age. Rather, it's a continuum of illnesses that gets its start decades earlier without any symptoms.

So it makes sense that if we could find a way to keep our brains healthier and better able to counter the damage that occurs with age, we could better the odds of preserving memory and preventing or forestalling Alzheimer's and other dementias.

A recent report from the National Institutes of Health supports this view. It provides evidence that vascular disease risk factors - including mid-life hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes - can all predispose someone to developing memory problems-even Alzheimer's.

While this may not sound like good news - it is.

Because it points the way to the importance of effective prevention strategies - strategies you can begin TODAY to keep your brain healthier, longer.

Original article – Johns Hopkins Health Alerts