Why do some people get Alzheimer’s and others don’t?
It’s a simple question that researchers are just starting to answer.[i]
Scientists know that heredity is a major factor. A gene called APOE4 can more than double your risk.[ii]
On the other hand, not having diabetes, high blood pressure, hearing loss, depression, or a history of head injuries can protect you.
A new study shows there’s something else that may determine whether you are headed for Alzheimer’s.
Scientists looked at elderly people for research published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging. They examined brain images and conducted cognitive evaluations of the subjects over several years.[iii]
They found that three personality traits protect the brain from degeneration:
- A tendency to be disagreeable sometimes, even unpleasant.
- Being a nonconformist, not caring what others think.
- Being open-minded and willing to consider new experiences and ideas.
Older people with these dispositions show better preservation of brain regions that lose volume with Alzheimer’s disease.
This as an exciting new field of study. Doctors are hopeful that modifying behavior or traits could help trseat or prevent dementia.
3 Things That Cut Your Alzheimer’s Risk
It’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to change your personality. But there are other ways to prevent Alzheimer’s that you may not know about:
- Brush and floss. Scientists have found that Alzheimer’s victims often have P. gingivalis in their brains. This is the type of bacteria that causes periodontitis. It’s the most serious form of gum disease. P. gingivalis can travel through nerves in the mouth that connect to the brain.[iv]
To prevent gum disease and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, brush your teeth twice a day. Floss daily. See your dentist for annual cleanings.
- Take choline. Research has shown that this natural nutritional supplement fights Alzheimer’s by blocking production of beta-amyloid. This protein causes brain plaque and is an Alzheimer’s marker.[v] [vi]
Although your body produces it in your liver, you need to get choline from your diet to avoid a deficiency. Foods highest in the nutrient include chicken breasts, beef liver, salmon, pork chops, and eggs.
Supplements are another option. CDP choline and alpha GPC choline are the forms that are best absorbed. Both are available from nutrition stores and online retailers. Take 500 mg per day or as directed on the label.[vii]
- Get high-intensity exercise. A study published in the journal Brain Plasticity found that aerobic exercise three times a week is linked to better “executive function.” That’s the set of mental skills you need to plan and organize tasks. Alzheimer’s often robs patients of executive function, making it impossible for them to live independently.[viii]
Dr. Ozioma C. Okonkwo was the lead investigator. He said the study shows that “regular aerobic exercise can potentially enhance brain and cognitive functions” that are especially sensitive to Alzheimer’s.[ix]
The good news is that aerobic exercise doesn’t have to take long. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to get a great workout in less than 20 minutes a day.
HIIT works better than steady-state cardio like jogging or biking to improve heart strength, circulation, lung capacity, and overall fitness. And it takes just a fraction of the time.
HIIT is adaptable to many activities. You can run, cycle, swim, do calisthenics, or use a rowing, stair climber, or elliptical machine.
Warm up for three to five minutes doing your chosen form of exercise slowly. Then do the exercise at the highest intensity you can for the next minute.
Slow down for a minute or two to catch your breath. Then go hard again for another minute.
Repeat this process five to seven times. Afterward, do the activity slowly for at least two minutes to cool down.
The idea is to push your body for a brief burst, and then allow it to recover.
Scientists don’t know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s. But they do know that the three strategies above increase your chances of staying mentally sharp as you grow older.
Editor’s Note: Where are my keys? Why did I come into this room? What is my nephew’s name? Read our monthly journal Independent Healing to learn if these mental lapses are normal or signs of Alzheimer’s. And discover how to get back your youthful memory. Subscribe HERE.