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New book by UCSB author offers a formula for Alzheimer's disease management and prevention
Date:5/25/2010

It provides at one location all of the services known to decrease risk. It is the first full-service, community-based "cognitive shop" in the nation.

The authors state that the best way to cope with the disease is to try to treat it before it starts. They note that the disease process degeneration of the brain can begin as much as 10 years before there are any symptoms.

Kosik explains that there are both medical and lifestyle risks. These have been documented by scientists and physicians, in peer-reviewed journals, and educating oneself about them can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The medical risks include cardiovascular factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes or a tendency toward diabetes. "All of these increase risk for Alzheimer's disease, and all of those things can be controlled medically," said Kosik. "We already knew these things were bad for you; the new information is that all of those things are risks for Alzheimer's disease too."

The following are ways to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease, according to the authors:

  • Exercise. Exercise keeps every organ in the body healthy, including the brain.

  • Certain diets. The Mediterranean diet is the one that has shown documented results.
  • Reducing stress. Chronic stress such as divorce, losing a home, or losing a job is not good for the brain. Consulting counselors, coaches, social workers, and spiritual guides can help with recovery.

  • Keep your brain active. Present your brain with cognitive challenges. To reduce risk there are computer programs with graded series of cognitive challenges that keep the brain active.

  • Keep up a social life. Don't get isolated. Many studies have shown that successful aging people who reach their 90's and are still healthy are statistically more likely to be people who have friends.

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Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

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