Last week, a US biotechnology company claimed to have produced the first drug with the ability to slow down the development of Alzheimer’s. Biogen says it hopes to release aducanumab on to the market after it gets US Food and Drug Administration approval, which could take up to two years. Research into the drug had been abandoned but trials using higher doses of the drug are claimed to improve cognitive functions such as memory, orientation, and language.
A Mediterranean diet has been suggested to reduce cognitive decline. Limiting saturated fats and simple carbohydrates benefit the cardiovascular system, having an effect on overall health. While evidence based on these dietary recommendations is not yet conclusive, increased consumption of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish appears to have a beneficial effect on prevention and management.
Alzheimer’s disease may develop more quickly in people living solitary lives with limited interaction with others. Regular social engagement can spark new brain connections, which stimulate activity. A study over three years noted that participants who socialised less showed more cognitive decline. However, it did not consider factors stopping individuals from socialising, such as depression and anxiety.
Scientists have tested the effects of mental stimulation in relation to slowing down Alzheimer’s. People who engaged with puzzles, board games, learning a language or playing an instrument showed reduced severity of symptoms.
Numerous studies have shown a positive relationship between exercise and slowing cognitive decline. Studies in patients living with AD have shown a similar benefits, although further research is needed to define the amount and type of exercise.