Alzheimer’s Association hosts brain health event to encourage healthy behaviors

TROY — The Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter will hosting an educational event about the importance of cognitive health and the steps one can take to reduce the risk for dementia.

Brain Groove: Peace, Love and Brain Health is a virtual program that will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 17. Two Alzheimer’s Association researchers — Dr. Rebecca M. Edelmayer, senior director of Scientific Engagement, and Dr. Percy Griffin, director of Scientific Engagement — will discuss the latest in research around the impact of healthy lifestyle habits on the brain and what people can do today to focus on their brain health.

Participants will also learn about the possible long-term impacts of COVID on the brain and the latest about clinical trials and treatment. To preregister for the event, call 800-272-3900.

Rebecca Hall, Program Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, said this program applies to all ages.

“It’s never too early to think about keeping your brain healthy. Because one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, people are searching for healthy ways to create the best chance to avoid this brain disease,” Hall said.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, fatal brain disease that kills nerve cells and tissues in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think, plan, speak, walk. In the United States, more than 6 million people have the disease.

As Ohio lifts its COVID health orders, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests people focus on improving their cognitive health as an important part of their return to normal.

“The past year has been extremely challenging for most people,” Hall said. “Chronic stress, like that experienced during the pandemic, can impact memory, mood and anxiety. As residents begin to return to normal, we encourage them to make brain health a priority.”

Edelmayer said people should focus on their brain just like any other part of their body.

“Luckily, exercise is one of the things you can do to help protect yourself from cognitive decline, in addition to other healthy lifestyle interventions to reduce your risk of dementia,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s Association — through its U.S. POINTER Study — is examining the role lifestyle interventions, including diet, may play in protecting cognitive function. Right now, many experts agree that people can improve their brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, preferably in combination, including:

• Regular Exercise — Regular cardiovascular exercise helps increase blood flow to the body and brain, and there is strong evidence that regular physical activity is linked to better memory and thinking.

• A heart-healthy diet — Stick to a meal schedule full of fruits and vegetables to ensure a well-balanced diet. The Mediterranean and DASH diets are linked to better cognitive functioning and help reduce risk of heart disease as well.

• Proper sleep — Maintaining a regular, uninterrupted sleep pattern helps clear waste from the brain. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night and try to keep a routine bedtime.

• Staying socially and mentally active — Meaningful social engagement may support cognitive health, so stay connected with friends and family. Engage your mind by doing activities that stump you, like completing a jigsaw puzzle or playing strategy games. Or challenge yourself further by learning a new language or musical instrument.

Edelmayer said the best plan is, “Don’t focus on just one factor. Instead, try to create a healthy lifestyle that might actually, truly help prevent dementia.”