REGULAR EXERCISE AND DIET CAN HELP REDUCE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S
New Community seniors were among nearly 200 older adults who attended a conference on the campus of Rutgers University in Newark, where they learned that African-Americans are more than twice as likely as the general population to develop Alzheimer’s disease. But the participants were also glad to hear that there are five things they can do to help keep their brain healthy and mind sharp:
Keep Mentally Active
Avoid Unproductive Stress
Get a good night’s sleep
Eat light and healthy
The educational outreach was part of the African- American Brain Health Initiative operating at Rutgers-Newark, which is a university-community partnership designed to promote brain health, cognitive vitality and a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease among African-American seniors in the Greater Newark Area.
“Rutgers University is an anchor institution and we are here to help make a difference. We care about you,” said Diane Hill, Ph.D., Assistant Chancellor, University-Community Partnerships at Rutgers- Newark.
Between 4 and 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually the ability to carry out even simple tasks. One out of 10 people , ages 65-75 have the disease and half of people over 85 years old. Although research is inconclusive as to why certain people develop Alzheimer’s, risk factors may include obesity, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, poor diet, lack of physical exercise and lower education. There is a higher incidence of such environmental, lifestyle and behavioral factors among African-Americans.
Still, activities like reading, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, doing crossword puzzles and attending lectures can help keep one mentally active, said Mark Gluck, Ph.D, Professor of Neuroscience, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers who conducts studies on Alzheimer’s disease.
“You want to use your brain or lose it,” he said.
The program also included tips on healthy eating, led by Margaret Cammarieri of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.