Lifestyle Factors to Keep in Mind for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Losing Brain FunctionBy Jennifer Morganti, ND, Needs Director of Education


As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) rates continue to rise, many of us are wondering what our own risk is of  becoming a statistic. Current data says your chances are one in nine if you are over 65 years old, and if you’re over 85, it’s one in three. With such high risks, wouldn’t it be great to better understand what we can do to prevent it? There isn’t a good treatment to reverse AD and we still are not clear what causes it. Genetics and lifestyle factors seem to play in to the scenario, but the picture is fuzzy at best.

A recent study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, which may help provide clues as to which lifestyle risk factors can be modified to help decrease the chances of developing this devastating disease.  This study was a meta-analysis of other studies that contained data about AD risks. The diligent researchers initially browsed through almost 17,000 relevant studies, then narrowed it down to 323 which were appropriate to include in the review. There were over 5,000 patients included in the 323 studies.

The review of these 5,000 patients brought to light some interesting findings. They found a strong protective effect from five dietary factors: coffee intake, light to moderate drinking (alcohol), vitamin E, vitamin C, and folic acid. They found a significantly increased risk of developing AD when homocysteine levels were high or if a person was depressed. Risk also increased in the presence of other health conditions such as obesity (in middle age), atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and having type-2 diabetes. Interestingly, the study found a seemingly contradictory risk factor; a “low” BMI (being underweight) also is a hazard. Smoking or having a lower education level increases a person’s risk. Frailty (lacking strength and not exercising) puts a person at risk as well.

Some of the results were surprising and all in all, some were familiar. Although nothing is conclusive from this one review, the information is useful.  I think it does help point us in the right direction to make smart lifestyle choices for AD prevention, and those choices are also generally wise recommendations for overall health and wellness. 

Xu W, Tan L, Wang H, et al: Meta-analysis of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2015;August 21, 2015.

Aging Gracefully: Tips from the Experts

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

In 1946, 3.4 million babies were born in the United States—a 22% increase in the number of babies born the previous year. And so it began, the start of the Baby Boomer generation. Are you one of them? If you are, chances are you have started to notice some signs of aging. Perhaps your joints aren’t as nimble as they once were. You may have a few more wrinkles than you would like. Your memory may be becoming fuzzy. What tools do you need to assure that you age as gracefully as possible?

Come to Natur-Tyme’s all-day Annual Health Fair at the New York State Fairgrounds on Sunday April 10th. At 11:15 AM, you will want to attend the keynote panel on aging and listen to five experts discuss how to take control of your life and age with a positive attitude!

Here are some tips they have to pique your interest.

Pinsky“To quote Jane Fonda, ‘Stay curious, keep learning, and keep growing. And always strive to be more interested than interesting.’”

Marilyn Pinsky, Moderator


Heffernan“My advice is to sit less, and move more. Go for a brisk walk. As Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper Institute says, ‘We do not stop exercising because we grow old – we grow old because we stop exercising.’”

Kevin Heffernan, PhD
Nutrition & Exercise Expert

Keith“Figure out ways to be creative; do what you can to keep your imagination alive. Give the inner artist a chance to be taken seriously, even if your inner artist has not been acknowledged. Artists are energized by other artists.”

David Keith, MD
Families & Chronic Illness Specialist

Beissner“Keeping the mind and body active is the best way to age gracefully. This is the time to take up those deferred hobbies, or try something new. Taking an exercise class is a great way to meet people and have fun. The best programs target four key areas: strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance. “

Katherine Beissner, PT, PhD
Physical Activity Expert

“Studies have shown the importance ofHoltz being social to healthy aging. Social media is today’s tool for reaching that goal.”

Heidi Holtz
Social Engagement Specialist


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