Medical science is still awaiting discoveries that will pinpoint the cause, and bring about a cure, for Alzheimer's disease. Right now, however, the best we can say is that physicians who treat the disease are in general agreement regarding certain points, such as the need to prevent buildup of amyloid beta, the main component in amyloid plaques, extracellular deposits found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. (Although not yet conclusively established, a majority of researchers consider amyloid plaque is responsible for Alzheimer's.)
Noting that some TV personalities, including Piko Taro (real name Kazuhito Kosaka, 49), have been showing indications of early-stage dementia, Flash (June 6) advises readers there are bad habits and practices they can and should rectify, and such proactive efforts may help to stave off cognitive decline.
The magazine has put together a list of 20 types of behavior and called upon Dr Hiroyuki Imano -- head physician at the Brain Care Clinic in Shinjuku Ward -- to provide advice and commentary.
"Along with aging per se, it's natural for forgetfulness to increase," says Dr Imano. "As long as these don't become hindrances to daily functioning, then it's probably not regarded as dementia. However, it's necessary to keep alerted to obvious early-stage symptoms.
"Dementia has the perception of being a condition that once diagnosed, one can never recover from," Imano adds. "But it is now understood that in many cases treatment and cure is possible via the ReCODE therapy method (an acronym for Reversal of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's disease). In particular this applies to modification of daily activities and diet. It's basically a regimen to discourage the buildup of amyloid beta.
"Heeding these can work as a first step toward defense against dementia. And there's a good chance the tendency toward forgetfulness will be improved," he says.
How many of following items correspond to your lifestyle? Flash asks. And how many of them can you change or fix?
-- Purchased fewer than 10 items of apparel over the past year.
One important factor in preventing dementia is stimulation of the brain. It's a good idea to wear clothes of colors not previously worn, for instance, or to go shopping at new establishments.
-- Not meeting up with friends unrelated to work on days off
Citing results from a U.S. survey published in 2016, cases of dementia tended to be fewer among those engaged in work that brings them into contact with others. "We've seen cases where, because males' circle of acquaintances declines following retirement," says Dr Imano. The obvious solution is to make efforts to befriend people outside of one's own occupational field.
-- Declining hearing
Hearing loss is said to approximately double the risk of dementia. This is because the brain receives less stimulation, and a person's ability to engage in communication declines.
-- Walking speed becomes slower than average for one's age
If your gait has slowed down, you need to make an intentional effort to change your method of walking.
-- Not enough sleep
Inability to achieve sufficient hours of deep sleep has been linked to forming of amyloid beta, raising the risk of dementia. Spending the whole day in bed on a weekend or holiday is also bad as this doesn't really make up for lost sleep.
-- Taking your smartphone with you into the toilet
It's believed this can disrupt the autonomous nervous system and raise the risk of early onset dementia, as is being increasingly found among members of the younger set.
-- Masturbating less than once a week.
Gotta keep up secretion of those male hormones, guys. So get with it.
-- Not brushing one's teeth at bedtime
Correlations have been observed between dental caries and amyloid beta levels. Dental hygiene should not be neglected.
-- Household members complain about your snoring
Maybe it's time to get tested for sleep apnea. Your brain can suffer damage when oxygen supply is cut off during sleep, also making you feel tired during the day.
-- Don't rely on juice or sweetened soft drinks to hydrate yourself.
Water, green tea or herb tea is better for you. And while you're at it, it's a good time to cut down (or eliminate) pastry and ice cream.
-- Resist the urge for deep-fried foods
Saturated fats can cause inflammation within the body. The toxins present in some salad oils can also contribute to dementia and need to be avoided.
-- Smoking. Need we say more?
In addition to the big three of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide, cigarettes contain over 70 different carcinogens, many of which are believed to cause generation of amyloid beta. Smoking offers no benefits to the body whatsoever. It's time to give up the habit right away.
-- Eat more seafood
However, the meat from large fish like tuna and marlin in some cases might carry mercury, so they should be consumed in small quantities, if at all. Other sources of good-quality protein and minerals should be sought out.
-- Keep your bath clean
Watch out for growth of molds in the bathing area. If airborne molds enter the body, they can cause amyloid beta to increase. Keep your bathing area clean.
-- While you're at it, clean your AC too
Like those in the bathing area, molds can build up in your air conditioning unit. Seasonal cleaning is strongly advised.© Japan Today