Your Behavior Affects Your Memory

All the talk about Alzheimer’s disease makes you wonder what you’ll be like when you’re older. Several studies are beginning to point to different things that affect our memory:

  • People who eat > 2,143 calories a day are 2x as likely to have mild cognitive impairment as those that eat less than 1,526 a day.
  • People age 45-80 who don’t sleep well were more likely to have amyloid proteins which is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
  • Both physical exercise and cognitive exercise have been shown to prevent dementia.

Some general facts about Alzheimer’s (source):

  • Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – 5.2 million aged 65 and over; 200,000 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. By 2050, as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease.
  • Two-thirds of those with the disease – 3.4 million – are women.
  • Of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 8 has Alzheimer’s, and nearly half of people aged 85 and older have the disease.
  • Another American develops Alzheimer’s disease every 69 seconds. In 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
  • Most people survive an average of four to eight years after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but some live as long as 20 years with the disease.
  • On average, 40 percent of a person’s years with Alzheimer’s are spent in the most severe stage of the disease – longer than any other stage.
  • Four percent of the general population will be admitted to a nursing home by age 80. But, for people with Alzheimer’s, 75 percent will be admitted to a nursing home by age

Additionally, The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 was recently announced.

The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 seeks the development of simple, cost-effective, consistent tools that could be easily used to assess memory, mood, thinking and activity level over time to help improve diagnosis and monitoring of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Today, easy to use, reliable, objective and cost-efficient methods to track and monitor Alzheimer’s disease — which is not a normal part of aging — remain an unmet need. The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) call to harness new thinking to deliver better care and better health at lower cost and provides an entrepreneurial springboard to harness new thinking and approaches to improve Alzheimer’s care.

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