Dementia is a growing problem, according to the “Delphi Consensus Study”, appearing in the Lancet (2005; 366(9503): 2112-7). There is a new case of dementia every seven seconds, and the authors predict that the number of cases of dementia will double in developed countries between 2001 and 2040. Currently there are 23.4 million cases of dementia worldwide, with 4.6 million additional new cases each year.
Diet may, in part, help to prevent dementia. Research appearing in the Archives of Neurology (Dec 2006; 63: 1709–17) indicates that the Mediterranean diet may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers analyzed the diets of 194 Alzheimer’s patients and 1,790 people without the disease. Subjects were rated on their adherence to the Mediterranean diet on a scale from 0 to 9, and using a 61-item version of Willett’s semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Strictly following the diet was associated with a decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. The risk was lowered between 19 and 24% for each point (on the 0-9 scale used by the researchers). Those in the top 1/3 of dietary compliance had a 68% reduced risk when compared to those not following the diet.
Obesity seems to increase the risk of dementia, according to research appearing in the British Medical Journal (2005; 330(7504): 1360). Researchers gathered data from 10,276 men and women over a 27 year period. Between 1964 and 1973, subjects aged 40 to 45 years were given health evaluations. Follow-up exams were performed about 20 years later, between 1994 and 2003. Subjects who were obese at the time of initial evaluation had a 74% greater chance of developing dementia compared to subjects who were of normal weight.
Exercise also may help to prevent dementia. Research appearing in The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (63:529-535 (2008)) looked at physical activity in 2263 men aged 71–92 years without dementia. There were 173 incident cases of dementia with a mean follow-up of 6.1 years. The incidence of dementia was lower with increasing physical activity and function. For men with low physical function, high levels of physical activity were associated with half the risk of dementia versus men who were the least active. The authors concluded that increasing general physical activity in elderly men with poor physical function can possibly have a protective effect and delay the onset of dementia. Like so many other diseases, diet and exercise play a role in dementia.
Supplementation is always a good idea to help prevent dementia. Also, sometimes when someone is a little forgetful, supplementing with rubidium is helpful. According to Dr. Harry Eidenier, elderly folks who keep their vitality into old age have higher levels of rubidium. Also some of the CRS (can’t remember stuff) suffered by the elderly can be remedied with supplementation with vitamin B12. To prevent dementia, consider improving the diet and supplementing with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.