who have lifestyle issues may be at risk for brain shrinkage and mental
to a recent report based on the Framingham Heart study that has been
going on since 1948 on the residents of Masachusetts town, factors such as
diabetes, smoking, hypertension and obesity increased the risk for brain
shrinkage and dementia.
Method - The
study, which was published in the journal 'Neurology' was carried out
on 1,352 people who were on an average about 54 years old. Their risk factors
(overweight, high cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes and high BP) were
assessed during middle age.
When the subjects were between 61 and 67
years of age their brains were scanned using an MRI. Cognitive skill study was
also carried out on them.
Observation - Middle aged diabetics, smokers and over-weight people lost brain volume or experienced shrinkage at a faster pace in comparison to normal
experienced shrinkage of the hippocampal region of the brain which is
related to memory, while smokers and obese individuals experienced whole brain
It was observed
that those with high BP developed change in the "white matter" of the
brain, or blood vessel damage within the brain.It was also observed that their
decision making ability and planning skills depleted at a faster rate.
experienced white matter changes at a faster rate than other people.
"Our findings provide evidence that
identifying these risk factors early in people of middle age could be useful in
screening people for dementia and encouraging people to make changes to their
lifestyle before it's too late," says Charles DeCarli, MD, of the University of
California-Davis in Sacramento.
study hopes to unravel the mechanisms involved in the development of dementia.
Recommendations - Modifying the
risk factors by bringing about life style changes is likely to reduce
the chances developing dementia as one gets older.
Make sure you walk for at least 30 minutes each day, five days a week.
goes into your mouth. Keep those fries away.
Opt for a
low-fat, high protein diet and don't forget your daily fiber!
at bay by chosing some remedial measures such as mediation, long drives or
Engage in mind-stimulating
games such as scrabble.
health status by
going for regular health check ups and yearly screenings.
All these measures if diligently followed will ensure
that your memory is intact for a long, long time and that you live a long and
healthy life !