In recent years, we have been facing a constant increase in the level of stress. We don’t even have enough time for the usual activities. The problems we are facing are getting more and more serious. Established at work. Economic instability. Social instability. Climatic changes. Technological development. Artificial intelligence. What can we do? How can we protect our health? How can we prevent it Alzheimer’s Disease?
Contrary to opinions expressed in certain online communities, the methods of preventing this disease do not require the presence of a psychologist. It is true that a psychologist can recognize certain symptoms specific Alzheimer’s Disease and recommend a specialized treatment, but his presence is not necessary in prevention activities. We repeat. The following prevention suggestions are for the prevention period. In the situation where you are already facing an advanced state of the disease, we recommend that you urgently consult a psychologist.
Health and how much you sleep are two interrelated aspects. The latest research has made the connection between the difficulties faced by certain people in falling asleep with the risk of developing dementia or even the risk of death. The risk of developing dementia doubles in people who sleep 5 hours or less, compared to those who sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night. It seems that there is also a connection between how efficiently we sleep and how often sleep is interrupted, with the risk of developing various health problems.
This study had 2,610 participants who in 2013 and 2014 answered a questionnaire, with questions related to how alert they are during the day, how often they toss and turn during the day, how long it takes to fall asleep at night, how much they sleep in total and whether he snores or not. The study was longitudinal, so the psychologists who followed the participants collected data again, five years later, from the subjects or their relatives.
The results show that if it takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, in general, after the age of 60, you have 45% more chances of developing dementia; if in general you can’t keep your alertness, you often fall asleep during the day, and you sleep 5 hours or less a night, you will be prone to diseases of a nature that will reduce your life expectancy.
It is not very difficult to change the quality of your sleep and ensure a healthier old age. It helps you sleep better if, first of all, you give yourself time: time to develop a routine every evening, which at fixed times will teach your brain to prepare for sleep and help you relax; time spent outside, especially in the early part of the day, in which to sit in natural light, to adjust your internal clock; and finally time to go to a specialist: to a doctor to get your tests done to see if there is a physical problem that doesn’t let you sleep (mineral deficiencies, hormonal problems and many others) and time to go to a psychologist to talk about the thoughts that don’t let you sleep.
The University of California conducted a studye to establish the link between the sense of smell and memory, and at the end of the study the participants’ cognitive ability, measured by a memory test, increased by 226%.
It happened to all of us to smell a certain smell that evokes a very strong memory from the past: vanilla that reminds us of Saturdays in the family when cookies were baked, the floral perfume of your mother that you smelled with every hug, or burnt rubber associated with emotions the first hours of driving. The sense of smell is directly linked to the memory circuit.
The research used women and men between the ages of 60 and 85 without memory problems, who were given an aroma diffuser, and seven different aromas, made up of seven natural oils. The control group was given the same oils but in much smaller quantities. The experimental group used one scent in the evening, every night at bedtime, for 2 hours, while they slept.
The participants reported that they slept better, and the results of the imaging investigations show a better integrity of the part of the brain that makes the connection between the temporal lobe and the prefrontal cortex that is involved in decision-making, and that becomes weaker with age.
Older studies have shown how the loss of the sense of smell is correlated with the development of psychiatric and neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s, various dementias, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and alcoholism), and there is even a study that exposed patients with dementia to 40 smells a day, and the conclusion was that their memory and language improved, and their depressive symptoms were reduced.
If you learn more at once, your cognitive functions improve; to fight cognitive decline you have to adopt the attitude of a child, to search, explore, learn, not only new information, but especially new skills, Rachel Wu, a psychologist from the University of Riverside, tells us.
In the Gerontology journal, the Psychological Sciences section, an article was published that says that an independent and healthy old age is earned by learning in an environment with an encouraging attitude. There are already studies that demonstrate that learning new activities (photography, acting) cognitively develops older adults, only that these studies focused on one activity at a time.
More recent research asked a group of adults between the ages of 58 and 86 to attend classes, between 3 and 5 classes per person for 3 months, an average of 15 hours per week, just like when you go to school. The subjects learned Spanish, learned to use a tablet, learned photography, painting and took music composition courses. Several types of memory and cognitive control were measured, and after only a month and a half they obtained scores similar to adults 30 years younger.
If you know what you can change and you know what the risks are, you will be more motivated to make changes that will help you later in life and ensure a healthy old age.
Studies show that lifestyle is more important than the aging process itself. And the lifestyle can be summed up in these 8 factors: education level (a level of education lower than 12 classes is a factor that affects your brain), hearing loss (if the hearing problem requires prosthesis, and you do not use your prosthesis) , a brain trauma suffered at a given time, abuse of alcohol or other substances, hypertension, smoking (currently or in the last 4 years), diabetes and depression.
A study conducted on 22,117 subjects between the ages of 18 and 89 shows that the presence of a single factor damages your cognitive functions and ages your brain by 3 years. And subjects who do not present any of the 8 factors seem to have brains as healthy as those 10 or 20 years younger than them.
Volunteer activities are associated with better cognitive functions, especially with better episodic memory and better executive functions. These are the results of a study presented at the 2023 International Alzheimer’s Association Conference in Amsterdam.
Voluntary activities to provide help in the field of education, in religious life, in health or with any other charity association, help you to be more physically active, to have more intense social interactions and stimulate and protect your brain from dementia. Volunteering keeps you involved in society, helps you not to feel isolated or useless, and in the end the benefit is for everyone, both for you and for society.
In this study,, it was concluded that people who volunteer their services and time several times a week have the best scores on executive functions, and the researchers want to further investigate how mental health is related to cognitive functions. and volunteering activities.
According to a study conducted on 12,388 participants in Canada and Great Britain, there is a link between vitamin D supplementation and the onset of dementia symptoms. The study participants, with an average age of 71 years, did not have dementia at the time of enrollment in the research, and 37% of them were taking vitamin D supplements.
The participants were evaluated again after 10 years, and the results show that far fewer of those in the group taking vitamin D developed symptoms of dementia, and clinical signs appeared much later in life, especially in women taking vitamin D D. In this group there are 40% fewer cases of dementia.
Researchers have discovered that gingivitis could play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Following some DNA studies, it was discovered that the bacteria that causes gingivitis can migrate from the mouth to the brain where it produces a protein that destroys nerve cells, which further leads to memory loss and finally Alzheimer’s.
The researchers pointed out that the simple presence of the battery does not lead to Alzheimer’s, but it greatly increases the chance that the respective person will develop memory disorders, and speeds up the disease process, because the bacteria in question produces a dangerous enzyme. 53 patients with Alzheimer’s were analyzed, and this enzyme was present in 96% of them. Considering that the enzyme that this bacterium produces is what destroys the nerve cells in the brain, this means that the treatment of the disease can be approached from another angle, the target being precisely the blocking of this enzyme.
Brush your teeth and use dental floss, and if you have gingivitis in the family and a history of Alzheimer’s, go to the dentist regularly, not only will you look better, but you will also prevent Alzheimer’s.
Who needs a psychologist to be able to brush their teeth before going out dancing in the sun with their loved one?