5 Lifestyle Changes To Protect Your Brain

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest Alzheimer’s research has a clear theme: Change your lifestyle to protect your brain.

It will take several years for scientists to prove whether some experimental drugs could at least delay Alzheimer’s disease, and an aging population is at risk now.

Whatever happens on the drug front, there are generally healthy everyday steps people can take – from better sleep to handling stress to hitting the books – that research suggests just might lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Making these lifestyle changes “looks more promising than the drug studies so far,” said Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, whose lab researches what makes up healthy aging. The findings on stress prompted Lipton to take up yoga.

Here are five tips to help guard your brain against memory loss, based on research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference:


Studies of more than 6,000 people linked poor sleep quality – and especially sleep apnea – to early memory problems called mild cognitive impairment, which in turn can raise the risk of later Alzheimer’s. Other research showed poor sleep can spur a brain-clogging protein named amyloid that’s a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

Talk to your doctor if you’re having sleep problems, advises Dr. Kristine Yaffe of the University of California, San Francisco: “Sleep disorders are so common, and we think many are quite treatable.”


Seniors often are advised to work crossword puzzles, take music lessons or learn a new language to keep the brain engaged. The protective effects of learning may start decades earlier in life.

In Sweden, researchers at the Karolinska Institute unearthed school report cards and work histories of more than 7,000 older adults. Good grades as young as age 10 predicted lower risk of dementia later in life. So did getting a job —> Read More