7 Healthcast: Preventing Alzheimer's
One of the country's leading memory experts says that by age 45 people start having memory lapses, but you can do something about it.
"People have more control than they think when it comes to their brain health," Dr. Gary Small says.
He is the director of the UCLA Longevity Center and has written "The Alzheimer's Prevention Program," which includes a simple memory-improving technique called "Look Snap Connect."
"Look is a reminder to focus attention - the biggest reason we don't remember is we're just not paying attention," he said. "Snap is a reminder to create a mental snapshot so you have a visual image of the information, and connect is a way of linking up those mental snapshots."
Small recently spoke with seniors citizens at Vi Living in Aventura, Florida.
While aging is the number one risk factor for Alzheimer's, 96-year-old Earl Superfine and his 89-year-old friend Nina Cohen shared their secrets for staying sharp.
"I swam a mile every day until five years ago. I play bridge regularly and I'm very active," Superfine said.
"My feeling is you stay active mentally and physically you avoid the problems other people have," Cohen said.
Daily physical exercise is the most important thing you can do for your brain, Small said. It "gets your heart pumping nutrients and oxygen into your brain."
When it comes to nutrients, Omega 3s from fish and nuts are crucial.
So are fruits, vegetables and some spices.
"Curcumin is in curry powder and we're finding it's a very potent anti-inflammatory and anti-amyloid agent, so it protects the brain," Small said. "And we're studying it some more."
He said India has a much lower rate of Alzheimer's.
His book details the first seven days of the prevention program including diet, mental and physical workouts and stress management techniques.
He is making a free public presentation Wednesday at noon at NOVA Southeastern University's library.
(Copyright (c) 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)