Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Seven Preventive Steps for Preventing memory loss

Research shows that the following strategies may help preserve your memory.

1. Exercise

Physical wellness and mental wellness go together. Individuals who get standard fiery practice additionally have a tendency to stay rationally sharp in their 70s and 80s. There are a few courses in which practice may profit your memory. Above all else, its handy for the lungs, and individuals whose memories and mental sharpness remain solid in maturity typically have great lung capacity. Second, practice aides lessen the danger for diabetes, high cholesterol, high pulse, and stroke - sicknesses that can prompt memory misfortune. Furthermore at long last, creature research has indicated that practice builds the level of neurotrophins, substances that feed mind cells and help ensure them against harm from stroke and different wounds.

Analysts don't know decisively what amount of activity is required for great mental wellbeing. The accessible examination recommends that the activity needn't be compelling, yet ought to be standard. The individuals in the Macarthur study whose mental capacities remained solid were dynamic practically every day. A study from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine presumed that people who practiced - by strolling or by taking part in physically dynamic leisure activities, for example, planting - had an easier hazard for Alzheimer's malady. So masters suggest that you incorporate physical action with your day by day schedule. Here are a few illustrations:

  • When possible, walk instead of driving or riding.
  • Set aside time each day for exercise - for example, a half-hour walk around the neighborhood. For motivation, ask your spouse or a friend to go with you.
  • Use the stairs instead of elevators.
  • Exercise at home, possibly with an exercise video.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Take an exercise class or join a health club.
  • Swim regularly, if you have access to a pool or beach. 
  • Learn a sport that requires modest physical exertion, such as tennis. If you haven't been physically active recently, check with your doctor first.

2. Keep learning

In the MacArthur study, the characteristic that correlated most strongly with good mental functioning in old age was a person's level of education. Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting people into the habit of being mentally active. Regardless of your level of education, you, too, can be an active, lifelong learner. Some people continue their education with adult education classes or advanced degrees even in late adulthood. But efforts don't have to be so ambitious to be beneficial. Reading regularly, keeping up with current affairs, learning a new hobby, and playing challenging games all exercise your mind. (See "Challenge your mind" for practical ways to keep learning.)

3. Don't smoke

Studies show that smokers don't remember people's names and faces as well as nonsmokers do. No one knows whether smoking directly impairs memory or is merely associated with memory loss because it causes illnesses that contribute to memory loss. Smoking is especially common among people who are depressed, and depression weakens the memory. In addition, smoking increases the risk for stroke and hypertension, two other causes of memory impairment. 

Smoking can meddle with memory in different ways, as well. For one thing, it harms the lungs, and great lung capacity is one of the attributes of individuals whose memories stay solid in seniority. Also, smoking contracts the veins to the cerebrum, denying it of oxygen and conceivably hurting neurons.

4. Maintain a healthy diet

A stimulating eating methodology rich in products of the soil and in addition sound fats from fish, nuts, and entire grains is key in administering the wellbeing of your physique as well as of your cerebrum also. Dodging soaked fats (in meat and dairy) and trans fats (in business items with somewhat hydrogenated oils) will help keep your conduits clear and cholesterol levels solid, and that thusly will diminish your shots of stroke, including the little imperceptible ones that can harm mind capacity. Maintain a strategic distance from abundance calories to administer a typical weight; this brings down your danger for ailments, for example, diabetes and hypertension, which can weaken your memory.

Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can be especially beneficial because many are good sources of antioxidants, nutrients that may protect against diseases and age-related deterioration throughout the body.  

5. Get a good night's sleep

Slumber is fundamental for memory combination and general wellbeing. Despite the fact that individuals shift broadly in their singular rest needs, research recommends that six to eight hours of slumber a night is perfect. Maybe significantly more critical than the measure of slumber is the nature of slumber. Individuals with breathing issues throughout slumber, for example, obstructive slumber apnea, can rest for 10 hours for every night however never feel invigorated in the morning. Obviously, for some individuals, getting a great night's slumber is simpler said than finished, particularly becaus e a sleeping disorder gets to be more regular with age. Anyway certain propensities can offer assistance. For instance, attempt the accompanying:

  • Establish and maintain a consistent sleep schedule and routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. A set sleep routine will "train" you to fall asleep and wake up more easily.
  • Plan to do your most vigorous exercise early in the day. Exercising in the hours immediately before bedtime causes physiological changes that interfere with sleep. Exercising in the morning, on the other hand, enhances your alertness when you need it most - at the beginning of the day.
  • Avoid coffee and other sources of caffeine (e.g., chocolate, many soft drinks, some brands of aspirin, many types of tea) after midmorning, because caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake for hours afterward.
  • Avoid napping during the daytime. Napping can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep at night.
  • Don't take sleeping pills unless nothing else works. Like sleep deprivation, sleeping pills can cause memory loss.
  • Try drinking warm milk before bedtime. Some people find that it helps them feel sleepy. Milk contains tryptophan, a chemical that may help you relax.
  • Don't try to sleep if you're not tired; otherwise you'll set yourself up for tossing and turning. If you're still awake after about 20 minutes in bed, get up and read awhile to help yourself relax. 
  • If you experience persistent sleep problems, consult your physician so that you can find out what's wrong and get treatment if needed.

6. Consider taking vitamins

For several years, experts have thought that antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins C and E and beta carotene, might benefit memory by neutralizing free radicals, destructive molecules that damage healthy tissue in the body. Free radical damage has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, prompting researchers to speculate that it may contribute to the memory impairment and other symptoms of the disease. The findings have been mixed, but research suggests that some antioxidants might convey some benefits in the treatment of age-related memory loss and some forms of dementia, although not against Alzheimer's disease. 

A large study suggested that vitamin E, but not the other antioxidants, may help slow the rate of age-related mental decline. This study, which was published in Archives of Neurology in 2002, looked at 2,889 people ages 65 and older who did not have dementia or other cognitive illness. Researchers asked the study participants what they ate and which vitamin and mineral supplements they took, then tracked their mental function over about three years. Mental function was assessed with the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination and other standard tests. Participants who consumed the most vitamin E had 36% less mental decline than did people who consumed the least.

In contrast, a study published in Archives of Neurology in 2003 found no association between antioxidant intake and later development of Alzheimer's disease. This study included 980 people ages 65 and older who did not have dementia when the study began. Researchers asked the participants about their diet and supplement use, then followed the people for four years to see who developed Alzheimer's. At the end of the study, the people who consumed the largest amounts of vitamins C and E and beta carotene were no less likely to develop Alzheimer's than the people who consumed the smallest amounts.

However, an earlier study found that vitamins C and E might protect against some forms of dementia - vascular dementia, which is related to stroke, as well as so-called mixed/other dementia, which includes dementia caused by Parkinson's disease. In this study, which included 3,385 Japanese American men ages 71-93, those who reported taking vitamin C and E supplements had an 88% lower incidence of vascular dementia compared with those who didn't take the supplements. Like the more recent study, this one found no relationship between these vitamins and the incidence of Alzheimer's.

This study also found that the rate of dementia was lowest among men who had taken vitamins C and E the longest, which suggests that long-term use is important for helping to preserve mental function in old age. Vitamins C and E are generally safe and nontoxic. However, if you have a rare vitamin K deficiency that affects blood coagulation or if you take anticoagulant medicine, you should check with your doctor before taking these vitamins. Vitamins C and E can complicate these conditions by promoting anticoagulant action. Patients with any other form of bleeding disorder should also consult their physician before taking these supplements.

7. Cultivate social support

Social support - that is, close ties with others - can improve the mental performance of older people, according to the MacArthur study on aging and other research. Social support can come from friends, relatives, or caregivers, but to be truly supportive, relationships must make people feel good about themselves.

Not all relationships are beneficial. The MacArthur researchers described a study in a nursing home in which residents were asked to do a simple jigsaw puzzle. During a practice session, one group was given verbal encouragement by one of the experimenters as they practiced doing the jigsaw puzzle. The second group was told how to do the jigsaw puzzle. The third group got no social support or how-to advice. Later, when they took a test in which they did a puzzle on their own, those in the group given encouragement did better than they had during the practice session. The people who had been told what to do had more trouble during the test than they'd had in the practice session. And those who had received neither encouragement nor advice did neither better nor worse. 

The results of this study suggest that social support can improve a person's performance on particular mental tasks, but only if the support promotes the person's self-confidence. Being too quick to show a person what to do can lower that person's self-confidence and motivation to figure things out. In other words, it can instill a sense of helplessness. The lesson for older people is to seek out the company of people who will encourage them to keep on trying. The lesson for children and caregivers is to resist the impulse to jump in and do things for older people that they are capable of doing for themselves.

Troubleshooting memory problems: Common memory lapses and strategies to overcome them
What you forget
How to remember better
When you meet someone for the first time, use his or her name in coversation.
Think about whether you like the name.
Think of people you know well who have the same name.
Associate the name with an image, if one comes to mind. For example, link the name Sandy with the image of a beach.
Write the person's name down in your memory notebook, personal organizer, or adress book.
Where you put things
Always put things you use regularly, such keys and eyeglasses, in the same place.
For other objects, repeat aloud where you put them.
As you put an object down, make a point of looking at the place where you put it.
If you still don't think you'll remember, write down in your memory notebook or personal organizer where you put the object.
What people tell you
Ask someone to repeat what he or she just said.
Ask the person to speak slowly; that way, you'll be able to concentrate better.
Repeat to yourself what the person said and think about its meaning.
If the information is lengthy or complicated (such as advice from your doctor), use a small cassette recorder or take notes while the person is talking.
Write them down in an appointment book, in a calendar that you look at daily, or in your personal organizer.
Things you must do
Write them down in your personal organizer or calendar.
Write yourself a note and leave it in a place where you'll see it (for instance, on the kitchen table or by the front door).
Ask a friend or relative to remind you.
Leave an object associated with the task you must do out in a prominent place at home. For example, if you want to order tickets to a play, leave a newspaper ad for the play near your telephone.
If you must do something at a particular time (such as take medicine), set an alarm.
Adapted with permission from Winifred Sachs, Ed.D., Center for Cognitive Remediation and Treatment, Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center.


(This article was first printed in the Harvard Health Publications Special Health Report "Improving Memory: Understanding and Preventing Age-Related Memory Loss". For more information or to order, please go to 

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