Did you ever think that your personality could put you in line for mild cognitive impairment? In a recent study, personality traits such as neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness were all linked to pre-dementia conditions called motoric cognitive risk (MCR) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Openness reduced risk but neuroticism increased risk. What’s next?
If you are a reader of my blogs, you may recall that my sweet mother needed supervision due to dementia for the last 14 years of her life. It was a long, sad farewell.
Developing dementia is my greatest fear. Same for my brother and sister.
Though fearful, I do read a lot about dementia. I also talk with colleagues in the long-term care arena who have had similar experiences in their families. We chat about the latest research and what they are doing to preserve cognition.
What we can do
Neuroscientist and author, Lisa Genova, who wrote Still Alice, talks about sleep, aerobic exercise and a sensible diet as important dementia prevention factors.
In her TED presentation she explains how tangles and amyloid plaques destroy synapses, which enable neurons to communicate and keep the nervous system functioning properly. All critical to learning new things, retaining information and using logic and reasoning.
She suggests new meaningful learning to develop new synapses and keep our minds fresh and alive. And able to take on new tasks. Not crosswords that just recall things we already know. (Hola! I’m learning Spanish.)
She and others promote exercise to keep our brains healthy. Consider this: The first changes of a regular exercise program are neurological and start in the brain. Exercise promotes brain growth by increasing oxygen levels in the brain.
Could it be what we eat
Wonder if tangles and amyloid plaques are a symptom of dementia and not the cause? Could it be?
In the last 20 years, the research has focused primarily on tangles and amyloid plaques as the cause of dementia. But what if diet or a lack of an amino acid is the cause and tangles are the resulting symptom. Like arthritis creates stiff, painful joints.
In his research, Paul Cox, an ethnobotanist, has studied customs and diets of indigenous people and plants. His work points to a lack of the amino acid L-Serine in the brain. Could we just take a supplement and remain lucid?
If we can fast-track a vaccine for a coronavirus, why haven’t we been able to find a cure for dementia?
If we can invest trillions in economic stimulation packages, can we invest more in research to find a cure for dementia?
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Saturday, June 20, is the summer solstice and the day the Alzheimer’s Association promotes as “The Longest Day.”
It’s a day to wear PURPLE and stand up to the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of your choice and raise funds and awareness for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.