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Alzheimer's Incidence to Nearly Double Every 20 Years

As a physician I cannot stress enough the urgency for having your cognitive function screened regularly.  So instead today, I will let this CNN article on latest report for future Alzheimer's incidence rates speak for itself.  You can read this article on CNN summarizing the report.  Here are some highlights:

"Much of the growth will be fueled by longer life spans and population growth, especially in developing nations.

"Over the next 20 years, the numbers of people with dementia are anticipated to increase by 40 percent in Europe, 63 percent in North America, 77 percent in the southern Latin America ... and 89 percent in the developed Asia Pacific countries," the report said.

By 2010, an estimated 35.6 million people around the world will be living with dementia. The number is expected to hit 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

Studies have shown that physical exercise, the kind that keeps the heart healthy, also keeps the brain healthy, according to the National Institutes of Health's Cognitive and Emotional Health Project.

Mental stimulation can help too.

"Our brains can be made stronger through exercise," Andrew Carle, assistant professor in the department of health administration and policy at George Mason University, told CNN late last year. "In the same way physical exercise can delay many of the effects of aging on the body, there's some evidence cognitive exercise can at least delay the onset of Alzheimer's."

A combination of antioxidants, supplements and curry may also help.

Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants, which prevent cell damage and are believed to slow down diseases of aging, said Edythe London, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles."

If you are over the age of 55, you should be testing your cognitive function every six months.  All known interventions for Alzheimer's disease are most effective in the very early stages.  Get educated and stay on top of your cognitive health!

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