NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – New research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference underway in Los Angeles,
says combining four or five lifestyle factors – could provide maximum memory benefit.
Sisters, Jillian and Liza Wood, are now proactive when it comes to boosting their brain health. Lifestyle changes — after their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Jillian says, “Very surprising, very shocking.”
“I didn’t know it could happen so young,” says Liza.
“She was about 50 years old,” says Jillian, “When the first signs started coming and then passed at 54.”
Reading is now a daily activity for Liza, “That’s something that’s big for me that I focus on in trying to keep my brain constantly going. I was not doing that before.”
For Jillian, “I have like the sudoku app, a crossword app on my phone so any down time I do that.”
Research released at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference – underscores the importance of keeping brain cells sharp.
One study focused on five low-risk lifestyle factors – a healthy diet, moderate/vigorous physical exercise, brain stimulating activities, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.
Neurologist Dr. Amy Sanders who heads up Memory Care Center at Hartford HealthCare says, “If you do at least four of these five things, better if you do five, but if you do at least four, your risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease goes down by about 60 percent.”
A significant number, Dr. Sanders can’t stress enough, “This study reinforces the point that with lifestyle modification, more is more.”
She says – stretching the brain – fires up new cell connections, “If you normally read science fiction, read an historical fiction. If you normally watch dramas on TV, watch a documentary. Mix it up, the brain likes new things.”
It’s a lifelong commitment the Wood sisters embrace.
“For me, at least I was like, what can I do because that’s what my Mom would have done,” says Jillian.
Liza says, “Even though we’ve gone through this hardship, it’s nice to have grown up with a Mom who smiled no matter what she was going through and I think that’s what keeps us going and fighting.”
Other studies also released — suggests a healthy lifestyle could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s – even when other factors such as genetics and pollution are present.