Recent Study Suggests We Have More Control Over Cognitive Health Than We Think

Friday June 4, 2021

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a complicated disease with multiple causes and risk factors, some of which remain unknown.  But, there is good news!  Recent research suggests we have more control over our cognitive health than is commonly known. We can take steps to live a healthier lifestyle and impact our cognitive function, even if we have a genetic predisposition.

In an article published Oct. 30 in “Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association”, meta-analysis suggests personalized lifestyle interventions can prevent and improve cognitive decline.

Here are some lifestyle changes that Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian, says may improve cognitive abilities:

*Activity: Exercise at least three times a week with a mix of aerobic and resistance/weight training.

*Diet:        –Eat a half-cup of blueberries and strawberries two to three times a week.

                    –Eat two to three servings per week of wild fish, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

                    -Have one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil daily.

                    –Cut back on sugar and carbohydrates and look for whole grains and foods with high amounts of fiber.

*Sleep: Practice good sleep hygiene: Sleep at least 7.5 hours a day, avoid caffeinated drinks after 1 p.m., go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid electronics, texting and email 30-45 minutes before bed.

*Brain Health: Social Interaction, play a musical instrument, learn something new, minimize stress through activities like meditation.

As UNC Wellness Center members, you’re on the right path!

By: Susan B. Chesser, MPH, BSN, RN
Health Educator, Caregiver Support Facilitator