(WTNH) - Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging -- you are notsupposed to get it. Tell that to Maria Tomasetti. Her grandmotherand two aunts had Alzheimer's, and her mother died of the diseasethree years ago.
"What I do is keep learning new things," Maria said. "Keep mymind active."
Most people have memory issues when proteins block theconnections between brain cells.
Dr. Stephen Jones, who works at Greenwich Hospital andteaches medicine at Yale, says you need to exercise your brain.It's not static. Those connections between the cells canregenerate.
"Taking on projects which are new challenges for us, getting outof a rut of doing the same thing over and over again," Dr Jonessaid. "Routine of life is not health for the brain."
Dr. Jones says work out, eat right and watch your bloodpressure. Sleeping 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night gives memories time tostick. And force yourself to be social.
"We know people who are isolated and not engaged in society andlife are ones that really have a decline in overall health, mentalhealth as well," Dr. Jones said.
Connect with others through music, art and conversation. Andlaugh. Dr. Jones says silliness is healthy. "Children on averagelaugh 300 times a day. Adults laugh 17 times."
Maria works at the Alzheimer's Association. She pushes others tochange things up.
"If you are brushing your teeth instead of using the toothbrushin your right hand, put it in your left hand," Maria said. "Whenyou shop, put your list down. Try to shop without your list."
Dr. Jones says you can keep your brain sharp by learning a newlanguage, volunteering and by keeping an overall positiveattitude.
"If people give up they will deteriorate relatively rapidly," hesaid. "If they feel they have value and are able to contribute thenthey will generally be able to step up."
For more information on brain health visit WWW.ALZ.ORG/CT
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