Decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia starts with brain health

Decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia starts with brain health
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This September marks the 10th anniversary of the global raise awareness about dementia campaign. The campaign seeks to educate and challenge the stigmas that continue around dementia. While the full month is dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness, especially about diagnosis, World Alzheimer’s Day is on September 21st. 

Can we clear up confusion about cognitive health?

There are still lots of questions around diagnosing dementia and how to maintain brain health. A recent AARP survey showed that a lot of fear, confusion, and false information still exists around dementia for the public and healthcare providers.

The public and healthcare providers perceive dementia differently. The study found that 48% of adults believe they will likely have dementia. Yet a 2007 NIA-funded epidemiological study estimated dementia is only present in 13.9% of those aged 71 and older. Thus it should come as no surprise that most patients want to know if they will have dementia and prepare for it.

Ninety-one percent of adults aged 40 and older want to be told of a dementia diagnosis, but only 78% of providers said they always tell patients that truth. This is problematic. Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive (ADAS-Cog) are two of the most common evaluator tests. They rely on a doctor's assessment. A doctor uses these tests to evaluate memory, language, and orientation. Unfortunately, these tests do not catch all signs of dementia.

Can technology help doctors with a diagnosis?

Decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia starts with brain health
Decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia starts with brain health
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More advanced signs of dementia can be noted in imaging software like MRIs. The idea of bringing technology into evaluations has a lot of benefits. Instead of being a subjective process with limited data, it can become objective, as innovations in brain health scores show promise. 

Darmiyan is developing a diagnostic software platform. Using innovative MRI analysis technology and often cognitive assessment scores, Darmiyan’s software aims to detect and monitor early signs of neurodegenerative disorders and Alzheimer’s. 

Dr. Kaveh Vejdani, Chief Medical & Technology Officer & Co-founder of Darmiyan said,

“MRIs are rich in biological information. Much of this information is being underutilized. We believe we can extract information not visible to the human eye from the imaging process. We believe our software can help with early Alzheimer’s detection. Through efficient use of software, we can help eliminate many human errors. As a result,
the clinician can have access to much more detailed and accurate information to guide diagnosis and prognosis.”

Having more refined diagnostic tools could help reduce the fears associated with dementia. One of these major fears is a loss of independence. Knowing early that mild cognitive impairment is an issue might help patients and their families prepare for a future that could include Alzheimer’s disease. 

Furthermore, when doctors recognize memory issues or other early signs of dementia that may help motivate people to focus on brain health. A brain-healthy lifestyle can help slow the onset of dementia. 

5 simple ways to keep your brain healthy

You don't need to know in advance about dementia to keep your brain healthy. There are many things you can do to keep your brain healthy and active starting today!

  1. Physical Activity - Stay active daily. Exercise regularly to keep your heart strong, burn calories, and reduce inflammation.
  2. Keep your brain active - Getting mental stimulation through activities like solving crossword puzzles or math problems, drawing, painting, learning a new language, or even playing strategy games like chess and checkers helps improve the brain’s cognitive reserve and prevent or postpone cognitive decline.
  3. Eat Healthily - Try to reduce your intake of high-calorie foods and refined sugar. Make sure you are eating healthy foods like vegetables, berries, and nuts.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight- Watch your weight throughout your life. By maintaining a healthy weight and not being obese you may be helping to prevent dementia. In addition, this helps you maintain a healthy heart, optimal cholesterol levels, and healthy blood pressure.
  5. Don’t smoke - Science has proven there are no benefits to smoking. For your long-term health take the challenge and quit today (if you haven't already)!

Learn more about Dr. Kaveh Vejdani during his GetSetUp Guest Speaking event Know Your Brain Health Using Technology on Wednesday, Sept. 29. During this event, you can learn more about how technology can help detect the early signs of diseases like Alzheimer's. Dr. Vejdani will also share how knowledge and destigmatizing brain impairments through early detection can lead to improved lifestyle choices. Plus he will share research-based tips to help live and care for loved ones with mild cognitive impairments or dementia.

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Decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia starts with brain health
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