• Sally Saenger

SHIELD to Lower Alzheimer's Risk

SHIELD yourself to lower Alzheimer’s disease risk

from Harvard Health

Besides exercise, research has shown other lifestyle factors are linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a neuroscientist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, designed a guide called SHIELD to address these key areas.

S: Sleeping seven to eight hours. Adequate sleep helps the brain clear out amyloid plaque and other toxins, high amounts of which are linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

H: Handling stress. Stress induces the adrenal glands to produce and release more cortisol, which may have an adverse effect on memory and cognitive function.

I: Interaction with friends and family. Chronic loneliness doubles the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, some studies suggest.

E: Exercise. Regular aerobic activity helps induce neurogenesis.

L: Learning new things. Learning increases synapses (communication channels between neurons) and improves the brain’s resilience.

D: Diet. Plant-based eating patterns like the Mediterranean and MIND diets promote a healthy gut microbiome, which may play an important role in maintaining brain health via the gut-brain axis — the link between how the gut and brain communicate with each other.