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Lifestyle and Dementia – an Aide-Memoir

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Is there a link between lifestyle and dementia?

We have heard these words before, but not directly linked to lifestyle, dementia in general and Alzheimer’s Disease in particular:

REDUCE and/or totally refrain from, your processed foods, refined sugars and gluten.

INCREASE your fruit vegetables and non-farmed fish

So now there is a growing body of opinion linking lifestyle to the development of forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, and noting that these devastating diseases are increasing in societies where the diet is high in processed foods, simple sugars, gluten, and low in fruit and vegetables; as well as other factors such as disturbed sleep patterns (long hours sitting in front of screens) and sedentary habits (long hours sitting in front of screens!!).

In September 2014, a paper was published in Aging, which takes a different view of the subject:

Dale E. Bredesen, Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program.  See http://www.impactaging.com/contents?volumeId=6&issueId=9.  The results discussed in this paper are considered to be anecdotal because the sample size is 10 people and too small to be statistically significant.  However, Bredesen points out that dementia only gets worse with time, and 9 out 10 of his patients reversed the trend on this program.  The 10th one was at an advanced stage and did not respond to the programme.

He has developed a comprehensive 36-steps program that focuses on lifestyle as both prevention and potentially reversal, of an existing process of people considered to have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dale Bredesen proposes that Alzheimer’s is a complex condition resulting from our lifestyle.  While he emphasises that each patient’s treatment programme is highly individualised, the 36 steps can be categorised into four major components:

Nutrition (including supplementation)
Sleep (lots of it – feels good)
Relaxation (reduce stress, meditate, listen to music)
Exercise (lots – feels excellent!!)

While the components individually have been noted and discussed before with regards to overall health, this program is pulling them together into one coordinated approach for a specific condition – Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  And even if you have no concerns about AD, generally following these guidelines will do you a power of good.

With regard to the nutritional aspect:
REDUCE: requires the strict reduction or elimination of processed foods, refined sugars and gluten.

INCREASE: fruit vegetables and non-farmed fish.

And in relation to sleep:
Fast for three hours before going to bed and eat nothing for at least twelve hours between dinner and breakfast.

A good summary is found in the New Zealand Listener magazine for the week 5 to 11 December 2015, ‘Hope on the Horizon’ by Catherine Woulf.

http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/health-current-affairs/hope-on-the-horizon/

See Ann Napoletan at Alzheimers.net:  coconut-oil-for-alzheimers

Featured image from Pixabay

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