When actress Nancy Daly started noticing her mother was having trouble remembering things, she thought it might just be old age.
But it wasn’t. She forgot how to drive. She turned favorite recipes made from scratch for years into a mess. She got frustrated getting dressed (her outfit was on backwards). And eventually, she even forgot the most important people in her life.
That’s what Alzheimer’s looks like.
- It’s a progressive disease that damages memory and brain function.
- It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
- About 6 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, and that may rise to 12.7 million in the next 30 years.
“With Alzheimer’s you lose them twice,” says Daly. “You lose them when they don’t remember you anymore. And you lose them again when they die.”
There is no cure, but Daly hopes to change that. She created the Actors and Artists Unite to End Alzheimer’s foundation to organize walking events to raise money for research.
And that may be just the thing to keep your brain healthy.
- A recent study found that exercise can improve brain activity, function and memory, and may help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s.
What else can you do to keep your brain healthy?
- Eat a plant-based diet.
- Build strong social bonds with others.
- Keep learning.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Manage stress in healthy ways.
- Don’t smoke, or quit if you do.
- And maintain a healthy weight.
1. Alzheimer’s Association. (2022). Facts and figures. From: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures
2. Choi, S., et al. (2018). Combined adult neurogenesis and BDNF mimic exercise effects on cognition in an Alzheimer’s mouse model. Science, 361(6406):8821. From: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aan8821
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