134 Executive Drive, Lafayette, IN 47905, 765-448-6489

By Dr. Doug Williams
May 10, 2016
Category: Healthy Aging

Researchers across the globe have discovered that it may be possible to prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia through a combination of healthy habits.

At the American Psychiatric Associations 2013 Annual Meeting, Dr. Gary Small, renowned Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, gave essentially a State of the Union Address on Alzheimer's disease (AD). You can review that here.

Dr. Small notes that research suggests genetics account for only one-third of AD cases, while the remaining two-thirds are dependent on non-genetic factors. He outlined the following non-genetic lifestyle risk factors:

  1. Physical Conditioning
  2. Mental Stimulation
  3. Stress Management
  4. Nutrition (specifically an anti-inflammatory diet)

Physical conditioning has the strongest link with reduced risk for AD. Research shows exercising can lower bio-markers (lab work) associated with an increased risk of developing AD. People who walk regularly, even for as little as 15 minutes a day, can reduce their risk for AD.

Mental stimulation is essentially exercise for the brain. When reviewing mental stimulation, Dr. Small presented interesting research, demonstrating how learning new technology (phones, computers, etc.) increased in brain activity, thus lowering the risk for AD.

Stress management includes habitual practices, such as meditation, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and social interaction, among others.

Nutrition is linked as one of the biggest risk factors for AD, specifically an inflammatory-inducing diet. Dr. Small cited the Mediterranean diet (high in Omega 3 fatty acids/fish oil and fresh fruits and vegetables) as a particularly beneficial diet for reducing the risk of developing AD. You can review some background on anti-inflammatory diets here and here on our blog.

Many other types of dementia (including Mild Cognitive Impairment) have also been associated with the same four risk factors as the ones listed above for AD. All of these types of dementia, at least in part, can be impacted by lifestyle choices! Remember, it is never too early OR too late to make changes to achieve a healthier lifestyle.


If you, or someone you know, is concerned about Alzheimer's or other types of dementia, come to our class on Dementia Related Strategies on Tuesday, May 17th at 6:30pm in our office (134 Executive Drive #3, Lafayette). We will be discussing more in-depth about Alzheimer's and MCI, and giving some practical recommendations for you to take home.

The class is free, but registration is necessary.
Call us at 765-448-6489 to reserve a spot!