Saturday, November 22, 2008

Five ways to keep Alzheimer's and other dementias away

CNN) -- Blanche Danick may be 86 years old, but she's pretty hip. She keeps up with all the latest health news, and a while back, she called her daughter wanting to know whether she should start taking the herb ginkgo biloba. She'd heard it might stave off Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
"I told her not to bother, that it wouldn't make much of a difference," says her daughter, Edythe London, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "On the basis of what I've read, I don't think it staves off dementia."
London's advice makes a lot of sense, according to a study out this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Ginkgo is a top-selling herb and has been hailed by some as a memory-booster, but the new University of Pittsburgh study found it didn't help prevent Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia in more than 3,000 elderly study subjects.
Ginkgo manufacturers say this isn't the first -- or the last -- word on the herb. "There is a significant body of scientific and clinical evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of ginkgo extract for both cognitive function and improved circulation," said Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council.
London's still skeptical. "But I do tell my mother there are other things she can do," says London, who's studied the brain and aging. "I tell her to go out and do things and see people every day and be active." Studies have shown that physical exercise, the kind that keeps the whole article

1 comment:

Sally@MyriadLife said...

I'm sorry but all 'ways to keep Alzheimer's away' simply aren't plausible. Alzheimer's is a physical brain disease. You can do all the brain exercises you want but it will still happen if you are so genetically disposed. If brain exercises work then why did intelligent authors like Terry Pratchett get it and Iris Murdoch who continued writing with it too? And countless others who kept their brain active?

More research needs to be done. Alzheimer's is a disease just like cancer and heart disease. You can do an amount in terms of diet in the hope you won't get ill but what is needed is real recognition that this disease is endemic and needs the best drugs available to help fight it. These drugs must not be spurned because of expense. More practical help is needed for sufferers and carers and this costs money. Governments need to recognise Alzheimer's is as prevalent (if not more so) than cancer and deserves the corresponding attention.

Fitness is important in dementia prevention. Click below for more info