Air pollution raise risk of Alzheimers Disease:Older women who live in areas with high-rise of pollution (specifically fine particulate matter, which consists of extremely small particles that can be inhaled deep in the lungs) are 92% more likely to grow dementia than women living in cleaner-air climates, according to a 2017 study. The link was strongest in women who had the APOE4 gene, a genetic changes that increases the risk for Alzheimers Disease.
Poor sleep:You know that missing out on a good night’s sleep can lead to brain fog the next day, but research also suggests that disturbed sleep over time may be linked to a buildup of Alzheimer’s-related brain proteins.
Poor sense of smell:A 2016 study published in Annals of Neurology found that volunteers who had more trouble identifying scents like menthol, clove, strawberry, and lemon seemed to be at an increased risk of Alzheimers Disease.“When someone can’t distinguish between different smells, it may absolutely be a signal that Alzheimers Disease is brewing,” says Dr. Isaacson.
Your eating pattern:When Dr. Isaacson’s patients ask what they can do to reduce their risk of dementia, he recommends eating an early dinner—and then nothing until breakfast the next morning.Restricting your eating overnight can trigger the body to burn ketone bodies—a type of brain-healthy fat—rather than carbohydrates, he explains. “It helps you fuel the brain with something that’s not only more efficient from an energy-burning standpoint, but that may have an anti-aging effect as well.”
Concussions:For people with a family history of Alzheimers Disease, a blow to the head might accelerate the cognitive and brain changes associated with the disease. In a recent study in the journal Brain, young to middle-aged adults who’d had at least one concussion and had genetic risk factors for Alzheimers Disease had less gray matter in parts of the brain associated with dementia, compared to other study participants.
Loneliness:Research shows that older adults who report feeling socially isolated may be at higher risk for Alzheimers Disease. In a 2016 study from JAMA Psychiatry, senior citizens whose brain scans showed the development of amyloid protein clusters were 7.5 times more likely to be classified as lonely than those whose scans were negative.
High blood pressure:You know that high blood pressure is bad for your body and your brain, so the results of a recent study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia may catch you off-guard: When hypertension develops in old age, it appears to actually reduce the risk of Alzheimers Disease. “As we get more frail, having a reserve of blood pressure may actually be protective,” Dr. Isaacson explains.