I would expect there would be very few people over the age of 60 who don't at least think from time to time about the consequences of 'losing their mind', especially when they see other people not much older 'losing it'.
A few months ago my Mother in law was settled in a care facility with a special 'wing' for dementia patients. She is 84 years old and over the last few years has gradually deteriorated mentally until she finally got to the stage in which she needed 24/7 care.
Some years ago we tried to get her on to Omega 3 DHA/fish oil and our Neuro-Natural supplements, but the Doctors vetoed them opting instead for other medication. Would she have been better off if she had not followed the Doctors' advice? No one can be sure, although I suspect so.
Quite apart from this issue she just wouldn't exercise. My wife over the years would spend considerable amounts of time with her encouraging her to take walks. Where she lived, there were some pleasant walks alongside a river. But, she wouldn't do it unless my wife literally 'dragged' her along.
When she was given prescription drugs, the will to exercise became even less as she never felt good, and over the following years we could literally see her start to 'shrivel' up. Now, she just slowly shuffles everywhere as the drugs have left her unsteady on her feet.
Why do I raise this issue of exercise in connection with Dementia/Alzheimer's?
Well, because there have been studies connecting dementia with exercise, or rather the lack of it.
The latest study was done by the University of Pittsburgh in which 400 older adult subjects were recruited to participate... some with Alzheimer's, others with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and others with no signs of dementia.
They monitored physical activity and each participant had two MRI brain scans approx. 10 years apart.
In a press release, the study's lead author, Cyrus Raji, Ph.D., described the results: "We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer's and MCI, especially in areas of the brain's key memory and learning centers."
Mental exam scores dropped an average of five points over five years among patients with cognitive impairment who were physically inactive. But scores for physically active patients dropped only one point on average.
Dr. Raji also noted that patients who walked five miles per week showed slower decline in memory loss over five years.
For the healthy, dementia-free subjects who walked at least six miles per week maintained normal brain volume and significantly reduced risk of cognitive decline.
"Volume is a vital sign for the brain. When it decreases, that means brain cells are dying. But when it remains higher, brain health is being maintained." Dr. Raji
This study will continue for another 10 years. The goal is to find other ways that might alleviate Alzheimer's progression and MCI symptoms.
So... don't do what my Mother in law did and so many others do... refuse to exercise! Apart from the benefits that exercise provides for the general body structure including reducing the risk of 'shrinking' it would appear that it also helps keep your brain functioning as well.
However, don't overlook the other things that you should be doing for your brain. Mental exercise is important as is ensuring you keep feeding it the nutrients which are found in our Omega 3 DHA/Fish Oil and Total Balance.