Bursack: Good tips to preview Alzheimer’sDear Readers: Did you know that your ability (or inability) to stand on one foot for 30 seconds or more could be a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease?
By: Carol Bradley Bursack, INFORUM
Dear Readers: Did you know that your ability (or inability) to stand on one foot for 30 seconds or more could be a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease?
Neither did I.
As a person who writes extensively on elder care, and often on dementia, I am consistent about watching studies for information to pass on to readers. I also read books. Lots of books. So when I was contacted about reviewing a copy of “100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss,” I was game.
The book’s author, Jean Carper, has impressive credentials. She has published 23 books, is a former medical correspondent for CNN and has written about eating well for USA Today.
I wasn’t surprised, then, that it is a good book. However, I was surprised at just how exceptionally good it is.
Carper carries the ApoE4 gene, which is related to an increase in Alzheimer’s, so her interest in preventing Alzheimer’s disease is personal. She’s monitored studies and kept in touch with researchers for years, and promised herself that she would write a book once she had accumulated at least 100 scientifically based lifestyle tips people use to perhaps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Since scientists are pretty much in agreement that what is good for the heart is good for the brain, many of these tips could also prevent heart disease and vascular dementia.
“100 Simple Things” is set up like a reference book, with each tip, and the supporting evidence, self-contained within a page and a half. Most doctors agree that at this time the only cure for Alzheimer’s is prevention, and I believe most of us would benefit from some of these lifestyle changes.
Some favorites of mine include:
- As mentioned above, good balance is important. One study showed that “Those with the best balance and walking abilities at the start of the study were three times less likely to have developed dementia … .” (You can work to improve this.)
- “Get Help for Sleep Apnea. … It can cause brain damage and memory loss.”
- Carper writes of studies that show loneliness is a factor in developing dementia. She reaffirms that olive oil is good, saturated fats are bad. She tells us to deal with stress.
My advice: Buy this book and keep it handy. Even if you only follow a few tips, your body will thank you. “100 Simple Things,” published by Little Brown, is available online and in bookstores.
Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at www.mindingourelders.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.