Flexing mental muscles keeps aging brain healthy

  • Article by: Allie Shah , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2014 - 11:47 PM

Ken Lehmann is taking his Alzheimer’s diagnosis very seriously: He’s making a game of it.

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DufferHJan. 24, 1410:45 PM

How many times are going to read this story in the STrib. It's not backed up science; it's bogus. Dementia and Alzheimer's are not the same thing. People with Alzheimer's have dementia. But not all people with dementia have Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is very much a physical disease in which the brain is being destroyed. It is not something that can be prevented, cured or eased through mental activity anymore than doing crossword puzzles can prevent cancer. Patients and their families are done a disservice every time one of these stories runs. My wife of 41 years was a brilliant woman with a very active mind. She died in April of Alzheimer's after being in hospice for 31 months. No amount of concentrated mental activity would have prevented the insidious disease or kept her alive. Please stop these stories until there is science to back them up.

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DufferHJan. 24, 1410:51 PM

Please check your files. You ran a variant of this article about six months ago.

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bizsmithJan. 25, 14 6:20 AM

So the article or a variation of this article ran before. That doesn't mean everyone read it. I didn't. Dementia is an ongoing problem. Hey, the only reason I remember what I had for breadfast is that I always have cereal. If you read the article six months ago, don't read it again, or is that too simple for your total recall mind?

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rms316Jan. 25, 14 6:31 AM

Agree with Duffer H. While I believe Brain Games are effective and can be fun, they surely don't prevent Alzheimer's Disease. My grandmother and father both passed from this terrible disease. Good Diet, lot's of exercise and brain work and staying healthy all help. But many a brilliant mind has been destroyed by this disease.

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Willy53Jan. 25, 14 8:06 AM

Great, another must do activity in order to keep our youth forever. I have one simple axiom: Stay as active as your body allows, keep doing those things which make you feel young, read, read, read and take care of your health to the extent you can. One particular warning: try not to be OCD about aging.

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wiseguy1Jan. 25, 14 8:14 AM

I read an article just last week that said that getting adequate exercise was as good, if not better, than doing brain puzzles. There will probably be something new next week!

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berrymomJan. 25, 14 9:05 AM

Sigh .... I check out the reader comments hoping to get some additional insight or thoughtful discussion, but it seems more and more that they are nothing but cynical comments. Makes me bemoan the death of a civil culture and society.

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rvjesseJan. 25, 1410:18 AM

Someone I really like once told me tongue in cheek in the 90's when she was trying holistic medicine plus traditional medicine to fight her cancer, "I won't be any deader if it doesn't help". She is still here. DufferH might be right but hope helps too.

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edinawaterJan. 25, 1412:09 PM

DufferH, Alzheimer's certainly is a physical disease. However, the human body is very complex. We are far from fully understanding it. Consider depression, it has physical manifestations as well. When the serotonin levels between your synapses drop you get depression. Serotonin levels can be increased with drugs. They can also be increased with physical exercise. For some people, serotonin levels can be increased by maintaining a positive outlook on life and not dwelling on the negative.

There is a definite interaction between physical and mental health. What you think and how you think can affect the chemicals in your brain and the rest of your body. Senile plaques play a critical role in Alzheimer's. Is it so crazy to think the chemicals in your brain could affect how the plaques develop, or fail to develop?

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tigerlily123Jan. 25, 1412:50 PM

Enough! I guess the fact that we remember how often this topic is covered means our brains are working well.

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