Alzheimer’s disease is no longer an end stage diagnosis. That is because scientists now have the means – including real-time brain imaging and recently developed spinal fluid and blood tests – to recognize the brain damage that begins years before symptoms of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s or a related dementia become evident. Indeed, research shows that changes in the brain and body may be present up to 20 years before symptoms begin to occur.
- Ninety six percent of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are over the age of 65.
- Only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers report being told of their diagnosis.
- SINCE WOMEN LIVE LONGER, almost two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women
- 10 to 20 percent of individuals are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and an estimated 6-20 percent will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease
- Of those 55 and older, 1 in 8 will develop Alzheimer’s disease
The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will grow each year as the size and proportion of the U.S. Population age 65 and older continues to increase.
THE GOOD NEWS!
2014: RESEARCH ADVANCES FROM THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE JULY 14, 2014: COPENHAGAN, DENMARK)
Two Year Clinical Trial of Multifaceted Lifestyle-Based Intervention Provides Cognitive Benefits for Older Adults at Risk of Dementia*
The study, with 1260 older adults at risk for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s, showed that structured physical activity, nutritional counseling, cognitive/mentaltraining, social activities and management of heart-health risk factors improved cognitive performance, both overall and in separate measures of executive function [e.g. prioritizing, planning, decision making] and verified the relationship between cognitive function and physical activity.
This is the first randomized control trial showing that it is possible to prevent cognitive decline using a multi-domain intervention among older at-risk individuals. These results highlight the value of addressing multiple risk factors in improving performance in several cognitive domains. Participants reported their experience was very positive, and dropout rate only 11 percent after two years.
The researchers say an extended 7-year follow up study is planned, and will include measures of dementia/Alzheimer’s incidence and biomarkers including brain imaging with MRI and PET.
The Center for Brain Health continues to use similar interventions integrated into our assessments and customized brain health plans seeking similar results.
EXPANDING BRAIN RESERVE
Brain reserve is the brain’s “resilience to pathological damage or changes” that often leads to the memory loss and behavior changes that come with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The greater the reserve, the more the brain’s cells and information-transmitting neurons communicate with each other and the greater the retention and recall of memory and information in later life.
Brain reserve can not regenerate or repair damaged brain cells and neurons. However, when present or enhanced, it can help the brain “cope with the pathological damage,” and “effectively manage the increasing changes” that come with memory loss and all forms of dementia.
At the Center for Brain Health, we think of brain reserve as the brain’s way of compensating for the brain changes that lead to memory loss, Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
And we know that our Brain Health Program – which includes appropriate and on-going assessment and monitoring, dietary modifications, participation in a therapeutic exercise program, and engaging in activities and programs that keep the brain active, stimulated and connected – doesn’t just help our clients retain and/or increase their brain reserve. It also protects them against and/or modifies the impact of cardiovascular disease and stroke, head injuries, and the early and mid-stage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
And we know that the time to take action is now.
Contact the Center for Brain Health.