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3Ds for Dementia


Diet, Depression, Diabetes

How would you cope if your partner or parents developed dementia? It is a worry that many of us must have every now and then.

But work published in yesterday’s British Medical Journal shows there are some sensible steps we can all take to reduce risk.

Karen Ritchie and a team from the French National Institute of Medical Research have published the findings of their seven year study of the cognitive ability of 1,433 pensioners in the Montpellier region.

Their findings highlight the importance of controlling 3 Ds – diet, depression and diabetes – for the prevention of dementia. Doing that, they write, ‘outweighs even the effect of removing the principal known genetic risk factor.’

This is good news for those concerned about dementia in their families and communities and underlines the importance of reading, diet and exercise – not just for the enjoyment of food but also of life itself.

What you can do

If you can do just three things to reduce the risk to yourself and your family, do these:

Take a trip to a good fruit and veg market – preferably a wholesale market. If you are not used to this, it will be a revelation. You will feast your eyes on the most glorious variety and abundance of fresh fruit and veg. The bright colours and sensuous shapes are an entertainment on their own, quite apart from the language and behaviour of the characters who work there! The greengrocers’ saw – that we buy with our eyes – is never so true… Once a serious carnivore, it converted me to eating a diet with less red meat and loads of fresh fruit n veg!

Switch off your TV and join a library. Like your muscles, our free libraries are a fabulous asset and will only survive if we use them. They are not the grim, silent places some of us remember from our childhoods, but full of interesting fiction, non-fiction and even non-book resources, like music and computers. Our brains waste and wane without use, too, so libraries and reading are key to staving off dementia.

Get out of the house, come rain or shine. In middle or older age, physical activity is key. We are not talking about organised sport – you don’t want to be playing fly half for the Barbarians – but regular exercise. Walking regularly – whether to the shops or with a dog- using the stairs and not the lift, working in your garden or playing with grandchildren… These all keep us exercised and active, but they also ward off depression and give us an appetite for healthy food.


From → Health, Practice, Research

  1. Health is a simple [proposition: Moving around a bit, eating fresh and in moderation, connecting with family and friends. And add a daily cold shower!

    Diabetes type II is mostly an absolutely preventable disease.

    Yet it seems so exceedingly hard to focus on these simple steps…

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.

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  1. 3Ds for Dementia | Γονείς σε Δράση
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