Over the past decade, research has revealed that the majority of patients treated for cancer experience difficulties with memory, attention, concentration, and thinking. There are several lifestyle actions that can help improve these symptoms, as well as certain medications.
Clinical trials for drugs to stop or slow the progression of dementia have not been successful. A recent study attempted to determine how much influence, if any, genetic and lifestyle factors may have on the development of dementia.
The World Health Organization has issued prevention guidelines for preventing dementia. Of note, the guidelines are very similar to those for heart health, reinforcing the known connections between heart health and brain health.
Considering memory supplements? Think again. In the US, prescription medicines are rigorously tested, but supplements are not and manufacturers can make claims that may or may not be true. But even supplement makers must follow certain rules, and recently the FDA announced a plan to revamp its regulation of dietary supplements.
The results of a study on cardiovascular health and memory found that people who received intensive treatment to lower their blood pressure were significantly less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.
The epidemic of people with dementia is expected to get much worse in the coming decades, but understanding the connection between vascular health and cognitive health allows people the opportunity to adopt heart-healthy habits that can reduce their risk of dementia.
Sleep gives the brain the opportunity to rid itself of proteins believed to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and now research is showing an association between poor sleep and the accumulation of those proteins.
When research finds a connection between consumption of high-flavanol dark chocolate and improved brain function, it’s tempting to interpret it as permission to eat a lot of chocolate, but the truth isn’t quite so simple.
Moderate drinking may have negative long-term effects on the brain’s health, but as yet the research is inconclusive, and must be weighed alongside the evidence that moderate alcohol consumption benefits the heart. If you’re a moderate or light drinker trying to decide whether to cut back for health reasons, you probably want to consider a variety of factors.
A review of dozens of studies on the benefits of exercise on cognitive health concluded that, for those over 50, just about any form of activity is beneficial if performed regularly.