Hi. It’s Dr. Sklar with the thought of the week. This week, it’s about cognition, which as you know is one of my favorite topics. I recently was on a menopause summit called Menopause is a Trip. It was a great summit and I spoke about hormones and cognition. At the end of the menopause summit in which 5,000 people participated, a survey was done to find out what the biggest health concerns were of the people who had listened to the summit. Not surprisingly, 73% of the respondents said the areas of brain function, cognitive health, and memory were their biggest health concerns and rightly so. Two-thirds of the people with Alzheimer’s disease are women. One in three people will die with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia and we expect a huge rise in the coming years in the number of cases of people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. (more…)
Little did I know when I sent out my blog last week about taking a hip hop class for fun that there actually is scientific evidence about the value of dance in preventing cognitive decline. There’s an excellent article that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 that studied a large group of older adults over 75 years of age who were engaged in a whole variety of leisure time activity, everything from things that mainly use your brain such as reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles and being in discussion groups as well as more physical activities like tennis, golf, gardening, and dancing.
And when they looked at the literature and they studied these people for 21 years to see what the incidence of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia was, which is dementia caused by blocked blood vessels, they found out the following things. If you’re a regular reader, your incidence of dementia is decreased by 35%. If you are a crossword puzzle doer, especially if you do crossword puzzles more than 4 times a week (you need to do these things frequently) your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia was reduced by 47%.
But what really took the prize was dance. If you dance on a regular basis, you can reduce your risk of dementia by as much as 76%! It needs to be dance that’s spontaneous and innovative. If you use the same memorized routines and memorized steps, which then engage the same old neural pathways in your brain, it is less effective in preventing cognitive decline. So you want to be in a class where you are innovating, taking rapid cues, and learning on the spot. This type of dance ends up being very effective because it integrates a whole lot of different activities: physical, cognitive (meaning you’ve got to use your brain), emotional, and musical.
So you can really impact your risk of cognitive decline in the future by the leisure time activities that you are engaged in. I say, get out your dancing shoes.
Dr. Susan Sklar is the founder and medical director of the Sklar Center for Restorative Medicine where she helps midlife men and women look and feel better and lead longer, healthier lives. She uses the view of Restorative Medicine which recognizes that hormonal and other biochemical changes cause humans to age in ways that are not necessary or inevitable. Replacement and balancing of these natural substances result in improved vitality and a longer healthy span of life with less chronic illness. Dr. Sklar has completed her fellowship training in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine after more than 25 years of experience as an obstetrician/gynecologist, placing her uniquely at the forefront of the care of men and women in midlife health transitions. She sees private patients at her center in Long Beach, California.
This week, I want to talk to you about stress, because stress is one of the biggest factors in why we have brain decline. Stress is not some intangible kind of airy concept; it is a definite set of physiologic responses that end up killing your neurons (brain cells). High levels of the cortisol hormone that get released when we’re stressed actually shrink your brain, particularly the area called the hippocampus where you lay down new memories. In addition to being damaging to your brain, these stress hormones cause other problems. They increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, among other things. (more…)
Hello. It’s Dr. Sklar, again, with the thought of the week on the topic of inflammation, and particularly as inflammation relates to brain function. Some people are confused about what inflammation means, so I want to first explain what we mean by inflammation, and then go into some specifics regarding inflammation in the brain. This is a very hot topic, in terms of mood problems, like depression, and also cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s, memory problems, and brain fog. (more…)
Hi. I’m Dr. Susan Sklar and I want to give you the thought of the week. We’ve been delving deeply into the issue of cognitive decline. It certainly is one of the big issues on people’s minds. We know that one in three seniors will end up with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia and we have a program at the Sklar Center that helps with prevention and stabilization of people who have cognitive decline or mild Alzheimer’s. The issue I want to talk to you about today has to do with sleep. I know people are heavily focused on productivity. There’s a lot of pressure at work to get things done. People have family responsibilities, grandchildren, parents, etc to care for. If there’s one area that people tend to short themselves on in their self care, it frequently is sleep. (more…)
Over the last 10 years, I have had an increasing number of my patients coming into my office worried about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. (more…)