Until recently, it was believed that as we age we lose vast numbers of brain cells which contribute to such problems as dementia and memory loss. But now scientists have discovered that our brains continue producing new neurons into our seventies. That means the normal aging process leaves most mental functions intact, and may even allow for the more advanced “senior” brain function referred to as wisdom. In short, the aging brain is far more resilient than was previously believed.
So why do so many suffer from Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders associated with aging? Part of the problem is that more people are living longer. Alzheimer’s is a disease that can strike anyone, but like many other diseases, the risk increases with age; nearly half of everyone over 85 has Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. So far there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, although there are drugs that temporarily relieve some of the symptoms of the condition.
Recent studies have provided some interesting findings about this disease. One symptom of Alzheimer’s appears to be brain inflammation; and people who take high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs, and women who take estrogen develop Alzheimer’s at a lower-than-expected rate. Other researchers are investigating the effect of diet, specifically calorie restriction. This process has been shown to possibly prevent brain inflammation and the development of the disease. Cholesterol may also play a role in Alzheimer’s development. We already know that a low calorie/low cholesterol diet is better for us in general, so by continuing to manage our drinking and eating habits we may also lower our risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
There are other causes of memory loss and brain-function problems that are not related to Alzheimer’s disease. Many causes may be completely reversible if recognized early. The most common causes are:
A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can greatly improve you life. A home nursing care professional can help you achieve these goals.