Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia

Former NFL player Bob Stein sent me some information about a UCLA study regarding the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Here is a link to the article:  UCLA Study  

Bob says “A little late for us ex-football players to avoid head trauma, but the rest may apply.   Not sure, but like my mom used to say about chicken soup… couldn’t hurt”.

Here is some additional information excerpted from Jean Carper’s newest book: “100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s”.


“The idea that Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the Greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of The UCLA Center on Aging.  Researchers now know that Alzheimer’s, like heart Disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle Factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, Nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.

The big news: Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer’s.

In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of Experts. The results in a new (2010) book by Jean Carper: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss (Little, Brown; $19.99).

Here are 10 strategies…

1. Have coffee: In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic.  A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in Midlife cut Alzheimer’s risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida Researcher Gary Arendash credits caffeine:  He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee’s antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn’t.

2. Floss: Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.

3.Google: Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA’s Gary Small, who used brain MRI’s to prove it. The biggest surprise: Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.

4. Grow new brain cells: Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it’s believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency.

5. Drink apple juice: Apple juice can push production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine; that’s the way the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts. He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.

6. Protect your head: Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer’s is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person’s odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don’t take risks.

7. Meditate: Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage – a classic sign of Alzheimer’s – as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.

8. Take D: A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans’ risk of Cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England’s University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.

9. Fill your brain: It <> it ‘s called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences – education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities – makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer’s pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

10. Avoid infection: Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer’s to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer’s cases. The theory: Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid “gunk” that kills brain cells. Proof is still lacking, but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?

What to Drink for Good Memory…

A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer’s is to drink the right stuff.

a. Tops: Juice. A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer’s odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Especially protective:blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.

b. Tea: Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer’s Association.  Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.

c. Caffeine beverages: Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer’s, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer’s researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate.  Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.

d. Red wine: If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It’s high in antioxidants.  Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer’s.

e. Two to avoid: Sugary soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer’s. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.

5 Ways to Save Your Kids from Alzheimer’s Now…

Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease that starts in old age. What happens to your child’s brain seems to have a dramatic impact on his or her likelihood of Alzheimer’s many decades later.

Here are five things you can do now to help save your child from Alzheimer’s and memory loss later in life, according to the latest research.

1. Prevent head blows: Insist your child wear a helmet during biking, skating, skiing, baseball, football, hockey, and all contact sports. A major blow as well as tiny repetitive unnoticed concussions can cause damage, leading to memory loss and Alzheimer’s years later.

2 Encourage language skills: A teenage girl who is a superior writer is eight times more likely to escape Alzheimer’s in late life than a teen with poor linguistic skills. Teaching young children to be fluent in two or more languages makes them less vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.

3. Insist your child go to college: Education is a powerful Alzheimer’s deterrent. The more years of formal schooling, the lower the odds. Most Alzheimer’s prone: teenage drop outs. For each year of education, your risk of dementia drops 11%, says a recent University of Cambridge study.

4. Provide stimulation: Keep your child’s brain busy with physical, mental and social activities and novel experiences. All these contribute to a bigger, better functioning brain with more so-called cognitive reserve.’ High cognitive reserve protects against memory decline and Alzheimer’s.

5. Spare the junk food: Lab animals raised on berries, spinach and high omega-3 fish have great memories in old age. Those overfed sugar, especially high fructose in soft drinks, saturated fat and trans fats become overweight and diabetic, with smaller brains and impaired memories as they age, a prelude to Alzheimer’s.



About Jeff Nixon

Jeff was a first team consensus All-American from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is 7th in NCAA history with 23 career interceptions. Played for the Buffalo Bills 1979-1984. Led the team with 6 interceptions in Rookie Year. Holds Bills record for 4 takeaways in a single game - 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Tied Bills record with four consecutive games with an interception. After 5 knee surgeries Jeff retired from pro football in 1985. He worked for 13 years (1988-2000) as the Youth Bureau Director for Buffalo and Erie County. He has worked for the past 11 years as the Youth Employment Director for Buffalo. Plays guitar and was voted best R&B guitar player by Buffalo Nightlife Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Posted on June 30, 2011, in NFL Alumni News. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Many of us who played the game show signs of CTE and are totally unaware we even have problems. Until recently, the general consensus from the scientific community was brain damage was irreparable and the subsequent loss of cognitive functioning and memory was permanent. New studies now show several ways to repair damage and restore functioning.

    I developed hydrocephalus while playing DT for the 49ers during the 1981 Super Bowl season, and underwent emergency VP Shunt brain surgery. Fast forward to today, and I have now survived 9 emergency VP Shunt brain surgeries, multiple gran mal seizures, but still managed to complete a biology degree (during brain surgeries # 4 thru # 7), and run an environmental consulting business. Several doctors, including Ellenbogen, have stated it is nothing short of miraculous I can even function, much less do what I do for a living. My secret? First and foremost, I know the big coach upstairs has a plan for me and has blessed me through it all. God helps those who help themselves, and I have always been proactive in my treatments.

    Back in 1982 when I “retired” from the NFL (tossed to the sidelines more like it), I started on a serious regiment of Omega 3 fish oils, mainly to reduce cholesterol, as I was concerned about the fact that I ate a dozen (or more) eggs a day for years, just maintain my playing weight. When I quit playing ball, I cut out most red meat with the exception of wild game I killed (deer, elk, antelope are much lower in cholesterol than domestic meat), and started loading up on the fresh fruit and vegetables. I also quit drinking due to brain seizures from alcohol.

    About 1 1/2 years ago I upped my fish oil to 18 grams/day of Dr. Barry Sears Omega 3s (that’s 18 capsules), and started using his SeaHealth Plus, a concentrated juice made of serious anti oxidants such as blueberries, cranberries and wrac seaweed. He now has the juice in a concentrated capsule, which I take 2/day. I also have completed 83 Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments this last year. Between the three, not only has my declining memory stopped declining, but has improved as shown by Microcog memory tests taken at Dr. Amen’s clinic pre hyperbaric, after 40 treatments and after 80 hyperbaric treatments. In addition, my anger management issues have subsided. Both of these are symptoms of inflamation of the brain, which both the Omega 3’s and juices repair.

    Green tea replaced coffee for me several years ago (now they say coffee is good for you), and I have always been on vitamin Bs. We have now included a vitamin D to the arsenal.

    Men, if I can improve and keep functioning after 9 emergency brain surgeries, I must be doing something right. Give it a try, your family will thank you for it.

    George Visger
    SF 49ers 80 & 81
    Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

  2. Great information of these diseases. Did you find any scientific evidence about exposure to aluminum? I have heard that use of deoderants with aluminum chlorhidrate can affect the brain negatively. Wondering if it was true or false.

  3. Ray Easterling

    Jeff, great suggestions, but what if I have already been doing all those things and my brain disease is accelerating? The N.F.L. is non-complaint,so far, to providing me with disability benefits because of early retirement? How can someone be held accountable for making a bad decision and this disease was affecting my judgement? Pretty hard to file for something you did not know you had-don’t you think! In retrospect my wife and I can point to specific examples of my decision making ability being affected at the age of 40. My net worth with absolutely no debt of any kind was 2.5 million dollars, this is light of the fact that my top pay was $ 75,000. I graduated dean’s list from one of the top business schools in the country and was great at seeing and predicting market trends,etc. So I find myself cut off for any disability-shows that money is always the deciding factor-to hell with the players help—just ask Silva Mackey. We will get nothing again-so it is time to over turn this corrupt union! It’s easy-,just for ask their itemized books and 1040’s-with all the K-1’s. Ray Easterling

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