Just the word "Alzheimer's" is a trigger, especially for those of us with up-close-and-personal memories of the disease ravaging our loved ones. Preventing Alzheimer's would be a top priority if we believed it was even possible. But isn't developing Alzheimer's disease just a random calamity?
Not according to a new study by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). In this study, over 2,700 participants were enrolled and followed for over a decade to determine whether certain combined behaviors might work together to create a decreased incidence in Alzheimer's.
"The findings strengthen the association between healthy behaviors and lower risk," said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. The five behaviors included in the study were:
• Quitting smoking or not smoking at all
• Limiting alcohol consumption
• Stimulating the mind later in life
• Nourishing the body with healthy diet
• Exercising moderate/vigorously at least 150 minutes per week.
The participants that engaged in two or three of these behaviors per week over the course of the study show a 37% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, while those who engaged in four or five of these healthy behaviors resulted in a 60% lower risk than those who only practiced up to one of these activities.
While these were not conclusive results, they offer encouragement and motivation to each of us who'd like to do all we can to decrease our chances of developing Alzheimer's.
So what's the takeaway? We all know we should strive to be healthy. By building routines incorporating at least four if not all five of these behaviors into daily life, we can create a lifestyle of brain-nourishing fortification against Alzheimer's disease.