Many specialists of our times express their true concern about increasing number of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia like brain disorders. Those are among the most common mental disorders attributed to aging and linked to shrinking human brain. Due to numerous changes related to aging, including metabolism imbalances, poorer digestion, poorer vision and decreased abilities to focus, reduced abilities to learn new information, and so on, aging people become less and less effective in using their brain, memory, and mental skills. Therefore, they start showing the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, namely being unable to remember things, being unable to do some daily tasks, starting from complicated ones and then moving to very easy and simple things. People on moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease can not recognize their family members, slowly start losing their ability to speak and doing even very simple actions like holding a spoon. Certainly, such people require special care, and moving to a special elderly care facility is recommended.
For many decades it was believed that Alzheimer’s disease is strictly linked to aging, and people start developing the symptoms only after a certain age. However, according to the findings of a recent study, it is possible to start tracing and evaluate a person’s chances to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia like brain disorders since quite an early age. Moreover, the scientists underline that it is possible t evaluate a child’s Alzheimer’s disease risks by looking closely at three major factors that play a key role in developing this terrible health condition later in life. The first factor is the number of years the person was studying, starting from primary school and ending with university. The second factor is having a highly demanding and challenging working life, which would include plenty of situations requiring very strong decision making and problem solving skills. The last factor which can increase a person’s Alzheimer’s risk is leading poor social life, especially at the latest stages of life.
For the study financed by Alzheimer’s Research UK, the history, health condition, and plenty of personal info or data on about 12,500 British pensioners were collected. Special attention was paid to learning more about education and social life of the participants. In particular, they were asked to give detailed information on how often they used to see their friends and relatives, what kind of classes they used to take, and so on. Also, mental health of the participants and its changes was strictly monitored for the period of time of 16 years. It turned out that those participants who had an active and demanding professional life had much lower chances to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Also, decreased Alzheimer’s disease risk was associated with more active social life. Both these factors assisted in better memory function in people, benefiting from more active mind and much slower decline in mental abilities, which very often do not grow into even the earliest stages of dementia like brain disorders. And, the researchers found out that it is especially important to stay socially active for aging people.
After analyzing all collected info and making evaluations, it became apparent that a 65-year-old person who has a higher education and leads an active social life has very good chances to live a dementia free life and die at about the age of 81. The researchers say that those who had poor education, led a socially closed life and had no demanding jobs have quite high Alzheimer’s disease risk and will not likely live longer than 75-77 years. The same can be said about the people who spent their aging lonely, with no friends or close people around. The main idea for aging people who want to lower their Alzheimer’s risk is to keep their brain busy as much as possible. Unfortunately, the study did not give answer to the question about mechanisms that provide the discovered links. However, those who want to learn more about the findings of this interesting research can check out one of the latest issues of online PLoS ONE magazine.
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