Total prevention of dementia “realistic goal” according to Irish professor

One Irish professor has shared his tips to help prevent and delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Consultant psychiatrist Professor Brian Lawlor at Trinity College Dublin spoke with the Irish Independent about the research that has already been conducted surrounding dementia and Alzheimers, and how people can attempt to prevent the disease.

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A 1986 study that analyzed a group of nuns found, surprisingly, that despite never presenting any symptoms while alive, autopsies showed Alzheimer’s disease present in some of their brains.

Professor Lawlor explained that the research proved that the prevention or delay or Alzheimer’s is a “realistic goal.”

“With the nuns, the belief is that those who have this more complex ability to express themselves in language – (maybe they had an innate ability and possibly it was down to education as well) - we believe we can build up a cognitive resource by exposing yourself to lots of things, social engagement, building up more plasticity in the brain.”

“When you develop the pathology of dementia, you can compensate with a positive cognitive reserve - and build up a reserve through education, lifetime activity, and social engagement.”

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Professor Lawlor added that studies are ongoing into what the exact warning signs of Alzheimer’s could be.

Below, Professor Lawlor provides his tips that could help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s and dementia:

  1. Aerobic exercise three times a week
  2. A Mediterranean, colorful diet
  3. Exposure to new things
  4. Remain socially engaged
  5. Minimize or avoid stress. Mindfulness can be helpful
  6. Treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  7. Cognitive stimulation like puzzles, Sudoku, or brain training. “It may help or have the potential to reduce your risk,” says Professor Lawlor.