Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

No cure - but you can lower the risk:

It's Brain Awareness Week and the Brain Foundation has advice on how to reduce the risk of dementia.
By Motherpedia
Date: March 11 2013
Editor Rating:

With almost one million Australians predicted to have dementia by 2050, the Brain Foundation is encouraging people to reduce their risk of acquiring the disease.

According to neurosurgeon and Brain Foundation spokesperson, Professor Nick Dorsch, there are steps individuals can take to reduce their risk or delay the onset of dementia.

“There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common cause of dementia,” Professor Dorsch said. “But there is increasing evidence that mental, physical and social activity can help.”

“We don’t fully understand why these factors stave off dementia, but the relationship is there. Cardio exercise may have a direct positive effect through increasing blood flow to the brain.” 

“Alzheimer’s Disease tends to come on slowly, with symptoms like confusion and forgetting recent events. Usually it is progressive, and develops worsening symptoms like forgetting how to do simple tasks, loss of social skills and inability to look after oneself,” Professor Dorsch said.

The reality of living with dementia is heartbreaking for families.

Kim Lambert struggled to cope with her father’s worsening dementia.

“My father died in early 2011, after a steady decline into dementia, which started in 2005, shortly before my mother died.” Ms Lambert said.

“As an only child, I had to deal with all of the practical consequences by myself, as well as the emotional impacts, and it was very hard. In some ways I have been close to depression for most of the last six years, and I’m only just pulling out of it now.”

Based on projections of population ageing and growth, the number of Australians with dementia will reach almost 400,000 by 2020, and around 900,000 by 2050.

The Brain Foundation recommends protecting your brain function by:

1.  Being mentally active.

2.  Exercising regularly.

3.  Maintaining a healthy diet.

4.  Protecting your head from injury.

5.  Being socially active.

6.  Getting adequate sleep. 

“We encourage people, especially the ageing population, to make lifestyle choices that help prevent dementia. However, we still don’t have a clear answer about the causes of dementia, and more funding is needed to find out,” Professor Dorsch said.

* * *

You can make a donation to the Brain Foundation at

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