Running may help guard against Alzheimer's disease

Are you seeking steps to keep your brain healthy in old age?

While there are no proven ways to stave off mental decline or Alzheimer's disease, a new report says that exercise, controlling blood pressure and forms of brain training might help.

Without proof, the government should not begin a public health campaign pushing strategies for aging brain health, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a report.

However, the report noted the evidence is 'encouraging' and experts hope these lifestyle changes can lead to a more definitive method to stave off brain disease.

Running, brain training and controlling blood pressure may help stave off mental decline and Alzheimer's in aging people, a new report suggests 

Deaths from Alzheimer's disease have soared by 55 percent since 1999 in the US, a report from the CDC showed last week.

A similar trend can be seen in the UK, with the most recent official statistics published in November displaying a significant jump.

It is believed they have more than doubled over the last five years due to people living longer than ever before and therefore developing the condition.  

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer's accounted for 3.6 percent of all US deaths in 2014. Yet the figure was much higher in the UK in 2015, as the disorder was responsible for 11.6 percent of total deaths.

Researchers have long predicted increased cases of Alzheimer's as the baby boomer generation passes the age of 65, putting them at higher risk for the age-related disease.

Medical advances also make them less likely to die from other diseases.

The new report made clear results of these changes are inconclusive, that way people can use the information in deciding whether to invest time and money on different interventions.

The three highlighted strategies 'do no harm,' said neuroscientist Alan Leshner, chairman of the National Academies committee. 'At least two of them are really good for you' even if the brain link doesn't pan out.

Scientists know that risky changes in the brain begin decades before symptoms of Alzheimer's and other dementias become apparent, suggesting there's a window when people might bolster their cognitive health.

But the report says Americans face a 'bewildering' array of products and strategies promoted for brain health despite little if any rigorous science to back them up.

The National Institute on Aging asked the prestigious National Academies to review the field. The committee said three interventions should be more closely studied to prove if they really can help:

This is not merely 'brain games' on your computer, Leshner said. The committee isn't backing those costly computer-based programs. Indeed, the government fined one brain training company last year for misleading consumers.

Brain scans revealed for the first time in May that eating plenty of salmon, mackerel and sardines prevents Alzheimer's disease by boosting blood flow

Instead, the best study to date included training done in groups, providing social engagement too. And cognitively stimulating activities include such things as learning a new language, the report noted.

'Since generally keeping intellectually active appears to be good for you, do that,' Leshner advised, and if you're considering a commercial program, ask the company to see studies backing it.

The Alzheimer's Association had been awaiting the recommendations, and agreed that 'more research is needed to determine what the optimal interventions should be,' said chief medical officer Maria Carrillo.

 'In the meantime, we recommend that people challenge their brains to maintain brain health.'

In May, brain scans revealed for the first time that eating plenty of salmon, mackerel and sardines prevents Alzheimer's disease by boosting blood flow, a study found.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, increase blood in brain regions that control memory and learning - both of which are destroyed by the neurological disorder, researchers found.

People who eat a lot of oily fish are also better at acquiring and understanding new information, the study adds. 

A high-fish diet also boosts our overall mental and emotional health.

Lead study author Professor Daniel Amen, of Amen Clinics in Costa Mesa, California, said: 'This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.'

If you want to know whether you're at risk of Alzheimer's disease, taking this test could help you.

Those unable to tell which character is the odd one out could well be at risk of the devastating disorder.

Known as Greebles, the purple characters have been designed by scientists at the University of Louisville in their ongoing quest for a cure.

A study found those at genetic risk of the disease struggle to distinguish a subtle difference in one of the images. 

For those eagle-eyed readers, the fourth Greeble was the one with the subtle difference.

It was built with a slightly bigger and wider horn on the front of its head. Its arm also sticks out of its body more than the others. 

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June 24, 2017

Sources:` Daily Mail

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