Dr. Gary Small

How to Lower Odds of Dementia

Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging at the David Geffen School of Medicine has these insights on how to stay mentally alert as we age (shared on the UCLA Magazine, April 2015, Mental Crossfit by Dan Gordon ’85):

  • Take Charge. Genetics account for approximately 1/3 of cognitive and physical well being in aging … which leaves ample room for what we can control.
  • Trim Belly Fat. Carry excess weight in middle age raises the risk of dementia down the road, as well as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.
  • Work Up a Sweat. There is strong scientific evidence that cardiovascular conditioning helps to keep the brain healthy.
  • Sleep Well. The benefits of sleep also includes improving mood and reducing effects of depression.
  • Brain Food. Eat diet rich in omega-3 fats (fish, flaxseed, walnuts) and low in omega-6 fats (red meat, whole milk, butter).
  • Memory Training. Learning languages or other mental challenges helps to keep your brain mentally engaged.
  • Treat Depression. Those prone to depression have higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease.

The good news is that it’s never too early to too late to start! Small says, “The brain is very resilient. We see remarkable results in older people.”

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For more information on programs that teach techniques for combating age-related memory decline, visit here.

Dr. Gary Small

Gary Small, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, is the Director of the UCLA Longevity Center and one of the world’s leading physician/scientists in the fields of memory and longevity. He has developed breakthrough brain-imaging technology that allows physicians to detect brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease years before patients show symptoms.

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