When it comes to staying on top of your overall health, it’s common for most people to focus on daily activities like diet and exercise for the good of their brain as well as their heart. And while our needs and abilities may change as we age, certain habits still have positive effects on your cognitive well-being, whether it’s maintaining good hygiene or getting enough sleep at night. But now, new research has also shown that some rarer activities can still have a major effect on your brain health, including a yearly occurrence that could reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 40%. Read on to see which annual tradition could help you stave off cognitive decline.
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Alzheimer’s disease presents a serious concern for many as they age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is the most common form of dementiawith an estimated 5.8 million people in the United States living with the disease which is expected to rise to 14 million by 2060. But thanks to an increase in specialized research, the medical community is beginning to better understand Alzheimer’s disease, including figured out some habits that might decrease someone’s chance of developing it.
For example, a 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients analyzed the diets of 925 people without dementia from 2004 to 2018 to record how often each person ate certain vegetables, fruits and seafood. The results showed that participants who ate at least one serving of strawberries per week had a 34% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who ate them once a month or not at all.
In another study published in The Journal of Neuroscience in August 2015, researchers examined how different sleeping positions could affect the brain’s glymphatic pathway, which is a specific system that works to clean up harmful chemical wastes from the brain. Through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce brain scans, researchers found that sleeping in a sideways position allowed the system to function more efficiently. But now, new research has found a surprising link between annual activity and Alzheimer’s risk in patients.
In a new study published online ahead of its August publication in the Alzheimer’s Disease Journalresearchers from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston analyzed the health data from 935,887 patients who had received at least one flu shot and 935,887 who had not. After a four-year follow-up period, results showed that while 8.5% of unvaccinated participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, only 5.1% of vaccinated participants developed the disease, showing a 40% reduction in risk.
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But while the results showed there was a correlation between getting even just one flu shot and lowering Alzheimer’s risk, they also suggested sticking to it. the annual filming schedule could offer even more benefits.
“We found that flu vaccination in older adults reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over several years. The strength of this protective effect increased with the number of years a person received an annual flu shot. – in other words, the rate of development of Alzheimer’s disease was lowest among those who regularly received the flu vaccine each year,” Avram S. BukhbinderMD, first author of the study, said in a statement.
“Future research should assess whether influenza vaccination is also associated with the rate of symptom progression in patients who already have Alzheimer’s dementia,” he suggested.
In their conclusion, the researchers cited previous studies that had linked receiving vaccines against other conditions such as tetanus, herpes, polio and others with a reduced risk of developing dementia. Bukhbinder said he hopes to use growing COVID-19 vaccine tracking data to see if the same association exists.
“Since there is evidence that multiple vaccines may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, we believe this is not a specific effect of the flu vaccine,” Paul. E. SchulzMD, lead author of the study, said in a press release.
“Instead, we believe that the immune system is complex and that certain alterations, such as pneumonia, can activate it in a way that makes Alzheimer’s disease worse. But other things that activate the immune system may do so in a different way, one that protects against Alzheimer’s Clearly, we have more to learn about how the immune system worsens or improves outcomes in this disease.
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