Alzheimer’s is a disease that begins to affect more and more people everyday, most of them in their late 60s and older. Dementia is categorized as a decline in cognitive functions that affect a person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) announced that Dementia may be delayed with proper treatment, such as intellectual stimulation (playing an instrument) and cognitive exercises (working puzzles).
More than five million Americans are currently affected by Alzheimer’s, one in three seniors die from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia everyday. Because there is no known cure, it is an important and urgent for this form of dementia to be studied. These facts are grim reminders of its ultimate toll, new evidence suggests learning new skills and participating in mentally stimulating activities may help inhibit the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Mayo Clinic and Foundation conducted a study where they tracked 2,000 seniors between the ages of 70-89 from 2004-2009. The study requested the seniors to complete questionnaires to evaluate what and how many exercises that had engaged in during those years. The participants were also examined for the APOE gene, a genetic marker of those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Intellectual stimulation and engagement in cognitive exercises helped delay the onset of dementia for approximately nine years, according to the study results from the Mayo Clinic research. The level of education had no bearing on protection against Alzheimer’s. To put it another way, those individuals with little or no education are also able to perform mental gymnastics and exercises to help stave of the onset of dementia and particularly Alzheimer’s. That is a re-affirmation of the old adage, it is never too late to learn.
A known method of keeping your body healthy longer is exercise. One can perform exercises for the brain and delay the onset of dementia with proper treatment, such as learning and practicing how to play a musical instrument, juggling or playing chess.
There are 10 early indicators and manifestations of Alzheimer’s. Memory loss, forgetting recently acquired information, forgetting important dates such as birthdays or anniversaries, forgetting a recipe, being unable to keep track of monthly bills, and being unable to concentrate or stay focused on a task are challenges in planning or solving problems. These are all issues found in those with dementia. Other examples include such things as not being able to complete a familiar task, or not remembering the rules of a game like Monopoly. Also forgetting where they are or how they got to a particular place, not knowing how much time has passed during a day, or not remembering what season it is, are known as a confusion of time and place.
Some people have vision problems, such as not being able to read or unable to judge a distance properly, and this may cause one to become a risk on the road while driving. People with Alzheimer’s may not be able to join a conversation, they lose track about the details of the subject being discussed, or forget in the middle of a sentence what they were going to say. Forgetting where to put things, like keys, or accusing others of stealing something from them does happen with many patients. They may begin to have poor hygiene and not pay attention to their appearance.
Withdrawal from social settings, such as sport,s or no longer participating in work projects is a frequent occurrence of people with Alzheimer’s, and they may have sudden changes in mood or personality shifts. They can also become depressed fearful or anxious.
On the bright side of this alarming degenerative disease is an extraordinary development that seems more like magic than science, cocoa extract. Research has shown this is a distinctly positive possibility. Cocoa is a source of flavonol, which are a type of polyphenols. Research has suggested that cocoa extracts interfere with a process called amyloid-ß oligomerization, preventing synaptic deficits. Three different cocoa extracts were tested on amyloid- ß oligomerization, they were, Natural, Dutched and Lavado extracts.
The results indicated the Lavado cocoa extract had the highest polyphenol content among the three types of cocoa, and this made it the most effective. It is an exciting development to know cocoa may have the power to assist in the prevention of such a devastating disease. Converting cocoa-based Lavado into a dietary supplement can be an inexpensive, safe and delicious preventative measure. Raise a cup of cocoa in celebration of delayed onset of dementia with a sweetly proper treatment.
By Andy Towle