“Numerous studies have reported that older adults who engage in a greater number of cognitively stimulating activities are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A study published by Dr. Wilson and colleagues found that people who participated in the greatest number of activities were 47% less likely to develop dementia in the next 4.5 years”, says Winningham.
We all know that if we don’t exercise our body we begin to lose muscle tone and strength. The same thing happens to our mind if we don’t use it— we lose cognitive ability.
Here are some highlights from Dr. Winningham’s presentation:
• Adopt a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a nutritious diet filled with high antioxidant foods, staying active and managing risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, being overweight, and having high blood pressure.
• Sugar isn't as bad as we thought it was— it's much worse! Dr. Winningham said Alzheimer's disease could be called Type III Diabetes, adding, "Sugar is toxic for the brain." Insulin resistance = memory loss.
• Begin challenging yourself daily with a new hobby, taking a class, learning to play an instrument or speak a new language, playing Sudoku, exercising or taking a 30 minute walk each day.
• Engage in activities that force your brain to concentrate for a sustained period of time. There are some great iPad apps for cognitive stimulation such as Lumosity, Fit Brains, Sudoku2, Tetris, Brain Lab, Stroop Effect, and MemBlock which is the iPad version of the 80's game, Simon.
We learned that, although no guarantee is made, there really is something that we can do today to minimize the effect of memory loss on our life and the lives of those we love.