Alzheimer’s Hope From Mom
If you’ve never seen the film “Away From Here” starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent, find it and watch it. Why? Because if you are not now personally touched by Alzheimers Disease or some other form of Dementia, you will be. Those are the facts born out by the statistics here in Canada and in other developed countries. The movie, which won numerous accolades as well as an Oscar nomination for Julie Christie, tells the story of an older couple dealing with her Alzheimers disease. Its a pretty good look at Alzheimers and its effects on both the people who have it, and those around them.
You probably already know that Alzheimers disease is a “degenerative disease” that affects the brain and in layman’s terms, messes with the brain’s programming. Think of your computer with all the information thats stored in it, but the filing system mixed up: you know that piece of information is in there somewhere but you can’t always find it. Sounds like my desk sometimes!
While there is no cure (yet) there is promising research and its coming from a variety of different directions: genetics, links between Alzheimers and diabetes, drug therapies, inflammation as a cause, possible benefits of caffeine! There are a few things we can do to give ourselves the best chance of warding off Alzheimer’s and there is evidence for Cognitive Retention Therapy (think fitness for your brain) to actually slow the progress of the disease. Some of this is going to sound like your mother talking to you, but….
What you eat, and how much you move are two big things you can control, that can make a big difference in brain health. Exercise is a well documented strategy for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. You don’t have to run marathons or “pump iron” a good brisk, emphasis on brisk, walk can do wonders for you. Consult with your physician as to the type of activities you can engage in.
As far as eating properly, we know that we bring on a lot of chronic illness with what we eat and with what we don’t eat. Dr. Art Hister, in the March 14 Alzheimer Society newsletter says this:
“Good studies have indicated that long-term healthy dietary choices can help maintain brain function, slow memory decline and may even help reduce your risk for dementia.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. has a Healthy Brain program to guide you in making a plan for better brain health including the setting of nutrition goals. The program can help you make healthier food choices that can lead to better brain health, and it should start with putting a rainbow of colours on your plate.”
So mom had it right. Eat your vegetables (raw or lightly steamed please, no mushy peas!) Eat your salmon so you get your Omega 3 fatty acids, nuts and beans and grains, and enough protein. And if you’d like to read the rest of Dr. Hister’s article, visit the Alzheimer Society of BC website at