World experts launch global Alzheimer’s Prevention Day on May 15th

A group of world-leading brain health scientists has come together to launch Alzheimer’s Prevention Day, taking place on May 15th. The day aims to raise awareness of the scientifically proven ways Alzheimer’s can be prevented.

If you ask the average person what causes Alzheimer’s they’ll probably say ‘it’s in the genes’. In reality about one in a hundred cases are caused by genes.

“It may be possible to prevent up to 80% of dementia cases if all known risk factors, including homocysteine lowering B vitamins and omega-3, found in oily fish, were targeted,” says China’s leading prevention expert Professor Jin-Tai Yu from Fudan Univeristy in Shanghai. “With no clinically effective drugs and minimal role of genes our focus must be on making diet and lifestyle changes that reduce risk of developing dementia.” says Professor David Smith, former Deputy Head of the University of Oxford’s Medical Science division. His research has shown up to 73 percent less brain shrinkage in those given B vitamin supplements with sufficient omega-3. Josh Miller, Professor of Nutritional Science at Rutgers University, New Jersey agrees:

“We could certainly prevent a significant percentage of dementia cases if all known nutrition-related risk factors were targeted.”

They are members of an expert group of 30 world leading brain health scientists across the US, UK, China and Japan, who are launching Alzheimer’s Prevention Day on May 15th with a website alzheimersprevention.info that works out what’s driving your future risk and what to do to reduce it.

“I watch my sugar intake. Fructose, high in fruit juice and hidden in so many processed foods, is a primary driver of Alzheimer’s. If you want to prevent Alzheimer’s save your sugar for dessert.” says Dr Robert Lustig, Emeritus Professor of pediatrics from the University of California. Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr Georgia Ede also recommends cutting carbohydrates. “Alzheimer’s is sometimes called ‘type 3 diabetes’ because 80% of cases show insulin resistance, which makes it difficult for the brain to use carbohydrate for energy. A ketogenic diet improves insulin resistance and generates ketones from fat to help energize the brain.” She says. Canada’s Professor Stephen Cunnane’s research has shown that in people at the start of Alzheimer disease, the cognitive benefits of a ketogenic drink are directly due to better energy levels in the brain.

“In the US 61 million people binge drink. Heavy alcohol use is the strongest modifiable risk factor for developing early dementia.” says psychiatrist Dr Chris Palmer also from Harvard Medical School.

Like Professor David Smith from Oxford prevention expert Dr Atsuo Yanagisawa from Japan, eats fish and supplements B12 every day.

Dr Bill Harris, leading expert in omega-3 says “I supplement omega-3 and eat the ‘smash’ fish (Salmon, Mackerel, either Anchovies or Albacore tuna, Sardines, Herring) high in omega-3. My advice is to get your omega-3 index up into the healthy zone and keep it there.”

“An active lifestyle is a key prevention step for Alzheimer’s. In particular, improving muscle mass and strength is strongly linked to less dementia risk and better brain health, with significant benefits even if we start exercising later in life.” says Tommy Wood, assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Washington. “Getting enough sleep is also essential to help the brain recover.”

New York Times best-selling author and neurologist Dr David Perlmutter points out that “By virtue of the simple lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis, we are the architects of our brain’s destiny. This is true empowerment.”

Each expert has recorded a 3- minute film of a single action anyone can take to prevent Alzheimer’s. The website alzheimersprevention.info also has a 3-minute Alzheimer’s Prevention Check anyone can take to find out what actions will lower their future risk and a chance to record their own ‘what I do to prevent Alzheimer’s’ action.

“Alzheimer’s takes several decades to develop and we largely know what’s driving it.” says Patrick Holford from the prevention charity foodforthebrain.org who are spear-heading the campaign. “We need to change the paradigm towards making prevention a reality. That’s what Alzheimer’s Prevention Day is all about.”

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