The 2 daily habits that help us prevent senile dementia

Two different studies, published on the same days, highlight small daily habits that can help us prevent senile dementia

Eugenio Spagnuolo

– Milan

According to WHO forecasts, by 2030, 75 million people worldwide will have to deal with a neurodegenerative disease. In Italy, where the aging rate of the population is among the highest in the world, the problem is particularly felt and already today senile dementia affects 1.2 million people (60% of which are affected by Alzheimer’s). Far (for now) from finding a definitive cure, doctors only have to prevent. But the good news is that the forms of senile dementia, according to two recent studies, can also be prevented through small daily habits …

Alzheimer’s and dental floss

The first study, published a few days ago on the Journal of the American Geriatrics Societyfound a correlation between dental hygiene and Alzheimer’s: according to the researchers, those with serious oral health problems are 23% more likely to develop some form of cognitive decline, resulting in memory loss. The advice is therefore not to neglect the daily cleaning of the teeth and use dental floss. A small, healthy habit to keep especially during middle age.

Brushing your teeth and making frequent visits to the dentist for a thorough clean is the best way to ward off gum disease, which previous studies have linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The enemy in this case is chronic inflammation of the gums, which by introducing inflammatory substances into the blood kills neurons and increases the risk of cognitive decline (23%) and dementia (13%). “Systemic inflammation – states the study – in itself is an independent determinant of cognitive impairment and is linked to various risk factors including diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol and also to aging and cognitive impairment”.

Senile dementia and exercise

Another study points out the importance of physical activity for those who want to maintain a robust cognitive ability even in old age. Fortunately, even those who have not practiced sports as a young person can benefit from it: a proper exercise routine helps keep the brain young regardless of age. Scientists at UC San Francisco have found that the brains of physically active seniors have a protein that improves connections between neurons and helps maintain healthy cognition. “Preserving the integrity of these connections between neurons is vital to fending off dementia, since the synapse is really where cognition takes place. And physical activity, a tool available to everyone, can enhance its functioning. ”Says Kaitlin Casaletto, assistant professor of neurology.

The research team analyzed data on some groups of seniors provided by the Memory and Aging Project of Rush University in Chicago. The results revealed that those who practiced physical activity (even light ones) showed higher levels of the proteins that make it possible to exchange information between neurons. Not only. According to the researchers, the beneficial effects of physical activity in the elderly extend far beyond the hippocampus, the area of ​​the brain responsible for memory, and also affect the regions associated with cognitive function.. “Physical activity may have a general supportive effect by stimulating the healthy function of proteins that facilitate synaptic transmission throughout the brain,” says William Honer, professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.



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The 2 daily habits that help us prevent senile dementia


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