Over 35 million people worldwide are living with dementia, with Alzheimer’s Disease – the most common cause of dementia – remaining without a cure. Many public health experts believe that prevention to forestall Alzheimer’s Disease is crucial. Cyrus Raji, from the University of California/Los Angeles (UCLA; California, USA), and colleagues examined how an active lifestyle can influence brain structure in 876 adults, average age 78 years, enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study. The patients' condition ranged from normal cognition to Alzheimer's dementia. The team drew on 20 years of clinical data on this group, including body mass index and lifestyle habits – including recreational sports, gardening and yard work, bicycling, dancing and riding an exercise cycle. After controlling for age, head size, cognitive impairment, gender, body mass index, education, study site location and white matter disease, the researchers found a strong association between energy output and volumes of gray matter (where neurons that function in cognition and higher order cognitive processes are located) in areas of the brain crucial for cognitive function. Greater caloric expenditure was related to larger gray matter volumes in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes, including the hippocampus, posterior cingulate and basal ganglia. There was a strong association between high energy output and greater gray matter volume in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease. Observing that: “not one but a combination of lifestyle choices and activities that benefit the brain,” the study authors report that: “The areas of the brain that benefited from an active lifestyle are the ones that consume the most energy and are very sensitive to damage."
Raji C., et al. “Energy expenditure is associated with gray matter structure in normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's dementia" [Abstract SSA16-02]. Presentation at 2012 Annual Meeting of Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), 26 Nov. 2012.
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#94 - Breathe Easy
People spend about 90% of their time indoors. Consequently. the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors that outdoors. Cut down on indoor triggers of allergies and asthma by following these simple tips:
• Remove pets from the home and thoroughly clean to eliminate their dander.
• Opt for leather furniture rather than upholstered pieces, since leather is an impervious material that is resistant to breeding dust mites.
• Eliminate carpet and drapes.
• Dust both vertical and horizontal surfaces weekly.
• Keep indoor humidity below 50% year round.
• Open windows for an hour each day during dry seasons to improve ventilation.
• Clean mold off shower curtains, bathroom and basement walls and other surfaces with a solution of bleach, detergent and water.
• Use a dehumidifier if your basement is damp or musty.
• Never allow smoking in the house.