A couple of related articles I came over at the weekend which are linked in a way that they both refer to delaying the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The BBC reports on a study which shows that longer schooling ‘cuts dementia’. The link is made between the extension of the school leaving age and the prevalence of dementia so that those who left school at 15 fare better than those who left at 14 etc.
Writing in the journal Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, the researchers say “The increase in educational levels that we observed is consistent with changes in the mandatory school leaving age in England.”
Other factors including fewer heart attacks, increased prescription of drugs to reduce high blood pressure, fewer people smoking and improvements in early life nutrition are also likely to have had an effect on the cognitive abilities of the 2002 group.
I am no scientist but I’d figure the latter comments are as relevant if not more than an extra year of schooling.
It is apparent from a lay view anyway, that generally those who have longer experiences of the educational system tend to be able to mask some of the symptoms of dementia for longer perhaps, after all, one of the key questions we ask in conjunction with the MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination) refers to what age the particular individual left school.
I wonder if it is more about the generally greater awareness of what is and isn’t good for us (i.e. smoking) that leads to, at least a reduction in vascular dementia.
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said: “Whilst we have a lot of really good evidence on healthy lifestyles and the fact that they can decrease risk of dementia, there isn’t enough evidence on education and dementia to draw any conclusions.
“We know conditions such as diabetes and obesity are on the rise and that they increase people’s risk of dementia – unfortunately this may have the opposite effect. “
Meanwhile, the Healthcare Republic reports that a people should be encouraged to eat more oily fish and omega 3 as a study carried out on mice has shown that this supplement has increased their cognitive functioning. I’m trying not to imagine how cognitive functioning in mice is measured because this is a serious research project..
Professor John Harwood, from the University of Cardiff, said research had shown that increasing dietary intake of omega-3 could halve the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
‘We are currently carrying out studies in mice that have been fed a diet enriched with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the active ingredient found in omega-3,’ he said.
‘The mice on the DHA diet did better in cognitive tests compared with mice that were not on the enriched diet. We are working on the hypothesis that this is down to the anti-inflammatory properties of DHA.’
Professor Harwood told GP that patients should be encouraged to consume omega-3, in the form of oily fish, from early age.
‘This is something that patients can do relatively easily and cheaply and should help to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
‘Omega-3 has clear benefits in reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and arthritis, so it cannot do any harm to increase your intake.’
I’m happy to go with that as a conclusion – basically it can’t do any harm and might possibly do some good.
Fish for dinner, I think.