For years, people believed that decreased memory and judgment was a normal part of aging. Now, health care researchers show that while a certain decline in memory is to be expected, healthy lifestyles, physical and mental exercise, social involvement and brain-friendly foods can help diminish memory loss as we age.
Recently we watched a programme showing an alternative “home” where drugs were not used to “control dementia patients”. It was a truly uplifting documentary and one where the patients were being loved and cared for without the use of mind altering medicine, however as has been stated above our best insurance for our health on every level is to Eat Well, Move Well (includes getting regular Chiropractic Care) and Think Well! Prevention truly is the best insurance.
Mr Burstow, the Liberal Democrat minister, campaigned in opposition on behalf of dementia patients and their families to reduce the reliance on the drugs both for patients being cared for at home and those in care facilities. Most of the drugs were developed in the 1950s for the treatment of psychosis and are not licensed for long term use with dementia. Mr Burstow (the minister responsible for implementing the cut) said the evidence for cutting the use of drugs to control dementia patients is compelling: “It kills people. It cuts their lives short. It reduces the quality of their lives. It is now time for those responsible for prescribing, to take responsibility and cut the prescribing, and make sure we improve the quality of life for people with dementia.”
Professor Tim Kendall, who wrote the current guidelines on when and how anti-psychotics should be used, is critical of how much they are being relied upon. “By far and away the most common use is to control people’s behaviours. It’s nothing more than a chemical cosh,” he said. The government currently spends more than £80m on anti-psychotic drugs for dementia patients a year – and spends £8.2bn overall in the treatment of dementia. “I don’t think we’re spending that £8.2 billion at all well. If we were spending it well we wouldn’t have this unacceptable level of prescribing anti-psychotics in the system,” Mr Burstow said.
Preventing or Slowing Down Alzheimer’s- information sourced from http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=1247
As with other chronic conditions, the evergreen trio of Eating Well, Moving Well and Thinking Well is the best prevention strategy for Alzheimer’s:
- Long-term physical activity may improve the ability to learn, stalling Alzheimer’s-like changes in brain chemistry.
- Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading or doing crossword puzzles, may increase the number of nerve-fiber connections in the brain, compensating for the changes associated with early Alzheimer’s. Some studies have also suggested that education may help decrease the risk of developing the disease.
- Maintaining relationships with other people and social support networks may also help protect against development of cognitive and emotional age-related conditions.
- Staying away from smoking. Older people who smoke seem to be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who have never smoked.
- Foods rich in vitamin E—vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole grains—reduce oxidative damage and may protect against Alzheimer’s. Those on blood-thinning medications need to consult their health care provider before increasing the amount of vitamin E in their diets or taking vitamin E supplements.
- Cardiovascular health boosters, such as garlic, Coenzyme Q10 and folate have also been associated with reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s.
- Omega 3 fish oil.
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