Many seniors who begin to have memory lapses worry unnecessarily about Alzheimer’s. Regular cognitive testing helps to alleviate those worries. A poor test result is not necessarily reflect neurological damage, but can be due to emotional stress of depression.
While we do not have effective therapies to treat fully developed Alzheimer’s disease, there are strong indications that the early detection of cognitive decline allows the implementation of medical and lifestyle changes that delay and possibly prevent the onset of the disease down the line. As subtle forms of cognitive decline can be detected up to 20 years before the development of Alzheimer’s, it is therefore important to test as early as possible, which should be done in the 50s and 60s.
Neurocognitive testing is a simple test that measures Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by evaluating memory, fluency and mental executive functions. It can detect if memory problems are just a part of normal aging, or if they are more serious. The test is done in our office. It is computer based and takes about thirty minutes. It is covered by Medicare and reimbursed by many insurance companies.
What can be done to prevent Alzheimer’s?
- Controlling inflammation. Many studies have suggested that inflammation may contribute to dementia. C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, is associated with an Alzheimer’s disease.
- Controlling insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes
- Lowering blood pressure
- Controlling weight
- Lowering homocysteine
- Regular exercise stimulates the production of neuronal growth factors that help neurons survive and adapt to new situations.
- Training the brain through intellectually stimulating activities and social interactions increases a person's "cognitive reserve."
- Avoidance and detoxification of mercury
- A diet rich in greens and blueberries.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Research indicates that long-term use of aspirin and NSAIDs may prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
- Supplementation with vitamin D, fish or krill oil, anti-oxidantsAlpha Lipoic Acid, Coconut Oil and Curcumin.