Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain
Function – 3 Things You Should
disease is a debilitating disorder affecting large numbers of our
aging population. Alarmingly, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is on the
There are over 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s already,
and that figure will most likely increase drastically over the next 10
years as the baby boomer generation approaches their 60’s and 70’s.
So what exactly is the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and
brain function? Are there steps you can take to help maintain your
brain function as you age to prevent the onset of this disorder?
Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, President and Medical Director of the
Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF), believes there
are. He has advocated a series of healthy lifestyle changes which
should help you maintain your mental abilities as you get older.
The following three areas are part of Dr. Khalsa’s Alzheimer’s
prevention plan promoted by the ARPF. By adhering to them, you will
have a greater chance at maintaining proper brain function into your
1. Several studies have indicated that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty
acids and antioxidants will help prevent the mental decline brought on
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to help repair the synapses in
your brain damaged by the formation of plaques and tangles, which mark
the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Antioxidants prevent the
production of free radicals in your body, which when present in
excess, can kill your brain cells.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in most seafood, especially salmon,
trout, and albacore tuna, as well as in certain green leafy vegetables
such as spinach.
Foods rich in vitamins C and E are also an excellent source of
antioxidants. Blueberries, grapes, cranberries, papaya, apples, and
green leafy vegetables will provide you with plenty of antioxidants in
2. Recent research has identified a strong link between stress and the
development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Stress hormones have also been found to speed up the production of
plaques and tangles in your brain. Studies have found that people
prone to stress were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as their
lower stressed counterparts.
It is important to employ stress management techniques in your life.
Some of the most effective techniques include mind-body exercises,
meditation, hypnosis, deep breathing, massage, and yoga.
3. Both physical and mental exercise have been found to increase brain
function. It is essential that you regularly engage in both physical
and mental activities so that you keep your mind sharp.
Physical exercise will help ensure that proper levels of oxygen reach
your brain. Like any other muscle in your body, your brain needs
sufficient levels of oxygen to function properly.
Good methods of physical exercise include brisk walking, jogging,
participation in sports, dance classes, and hiking.
There is also growing evidence that people who challenge their mind on
a regular basis maintain higher levels of brain function. Your brain
is a muscle. If you don’t use it frequently, it will atrophy. This
will make you more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.
Reading, writing, learning a new activity, and crossword puzzles are
all good mental activities to keep your brain sharp. And of course,
mind-body exercises work well here as well.
By paying close attention to these three areas in your life,
prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and brain function should continue
smoothly well into old age.
About the Author:
For more free information on prevention and treatment of memory loss,
and issues and clinical research related to
please visit the non-profit Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention
Additional Information and
webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate