Protecting against dementia

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thai_tong
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Protecting against dementia

Post by thai_tong »

Dementia has been in the headlines recently. The Economist had a special report on it which basically said that no country is prepared for the rise in dementia cases and the labour intensive healthcare required.

Dementia is in my family and I'd hate to think what would happen if I FIRE'd and got dementia causing my cost of living to double. Has anyone else here been close to somebody who got dementia? Are you concerned about it being part of your future?

Recent research this year found that lifestyle changes can delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases and I want to at least make the easy lifestlye changes.

The lifestyle factors which I am making changes for are:
1. Social isolation - Once the virus dies down I will join more social groups, until then I'm making more effort to chat with friends
2. Hearing loss - I usually use cheap ear buds and I know I play music too loud, I'm getting better headphones which reduce ear damage and give better music quality
3. Depression - I'm seeing a therapist about mood swings before this gets worse and leads to depression

Lifestyle factors which I'm not currently doing anything about:
4. Air pollution

Lifestyle factors which aren't a risk for me:
5. Excessive alcohol consumption
6. Head injury
7. Less education
8. Hypertension
9. Smoking
10. Obesity
11. Physical inactivity
12. Diabetes

Two two non-controllable risk factors are:
13. Age
14. Genetics

Hristo Botev
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Hristo Botev »

Oh man, I'm screwed! From your list, I check the following:
thai_tong wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:21 pm
2. Hearing loss - I usually use cheap ear buds and I know I play music too loud, I'm getting better headphones which reduce ear damage and give better music quality
5. Excessive alcohol consumption
6. Head injury
9. Smoking
10. Obesity
11. Physical inactivity
For 2, I lost a lot of hearing in my left ear following on bad bike crash a couple years ago (to the point that I don't hear my beeping watch alarm at all if I'm sleeping with the right side of my head on the pillow). Someone had mentioned to me (perhaps on this forum) that it could lead to dementia problems later on, to have one ear working so much harder than the other. I was set to go see an ENT, and then COVID hit and I haven't rescheduled. This will be my wake-up call to get that done; though I'm not looking forward to having to use a hearing aid (if that's what the fix is; really have no idea).

For 5, of course "excessive" is relative; but yeah, I'm sure I check that box.

For 9, the bike accident left me with a pretty bad traumatic brain injury, and it took several months before I was back to something approaching normal (just check out my late 2018, early 2019 posts on this forum!).

For 9 and 10, I've not smoked or been obese for several years, but certainly the effects are there.

And for 11, I don't know if any amount of pre- and post-work exercise and activity can really make up for me sitting behind a computer 10+ hours a day.

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jennypenny
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by jennypenny »

HB isn't the first forumite to mention suffering after a traumatic bike crash. I'm not convinced that biking is worth the risk until cars and bikes aren't sharing the same roads.

Lemon
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Lemon »

@Hristo Botev In terms of pre post work exercise probably makes the lions share of the gains. Like with most things going from totally sedentary to even just regular walks get you most of the win. Sedentary to moderately active is going to have way more benefit than moderately active to ultra-marathoner.

Similar for stopping smoking, the longer from stopping you are the closer to baseline risk you get.

I mean I would say this list is basically the same pretty much for any non-communicable disease. the more dementia specific being 'head injury' and 'hearing loss'. This isn't exactly surprising given they ultimately are all a combination of level of maintenance through life, genetics, and age.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Hristo Botev »

jennypenny wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:47 pm
HB isn't the first forumite to mention suffering after a traumatic bike crash. I'm not convinced that biking is worth the risk until cars and bikes aren't sharing the same roads.
@Suo, right? Anyone else?

I've mostly hung up my biking spurs, so to speak (was cleaning out the garage yesterday and realized the tires on both my bikes and the kids have gone nearly flat, from lack of use). This is due in part to the fact that we've moved so close to my work that, at this point, it seems almost silly to ride a bike there, rather than walk. Though, honestly, seems like even on my own two feet I have a near miss with a car about once every couple of weeks.

I've got some cool scars though.

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unemployable
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by unemployable »

I had a grandmother who was never formally diagnosed, but we all believed had dementia. Back then it was just called "getting old" and you couldn't do much about it, not that that's changed. She spent six years in a nursing home. She had relatives close by (my aunt's family) who visited as often as they could, but living that way for that long still sucks.

My mom is concerned that will be her future, and she may be starting to forget minor stuff -- for example bringing up conversation topics we discussed a day or two earlier, and not in the "when are you going to paint the front door already" sense. She's as physically and socially active as one can expect from a 79-year-old, and I can't think of anything she's doing or not doing that would hasten her decline.

I'd take my dad's genes and die of cancer at 78, which took only six months compared to six years, but then everyone on Mom's side lived forever. Nana died at 96; she had a sister who made it to 98. I give Mom a one-in-three chance of rolling her odometer over.

I've written this previously, but one criticism I have of the timbre on these boards is people worry too much about large-scale catastrophes at the expense of the disasters that will strike our bodies and minds with a probability of 1. One obvious response is to get everything done you want to do while you still have the chance. That's ERE in the first place, isn't it? For me one of those things was travel, exploring the world, and then hiking and climbing various subsets of its mountains.

Re hearing loss, considering what I've done for work and fun, I've basically tried to go deaf as quickly as possible. And I biked to work for seven years before I moved close enough to walk. In Chicago if you bike every day you should price in an incident with a car (or another bike!), and separately the theft of your bike, to occur roughly annually.

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Ego
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Ego »

jennypenny wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:47 pm
HB isn't the first forumite to mention suffering after a traumatic bike crash. I'm not convinced that biking is worth the risk until cars and bikes aren't sharing the same roads.
Had a similar post-bike ride epiphany while standing with a group of guys who went around the circle recounted their experiences with CAT scans or MRIs after crashing with head injuries. I was the only one without a story to share and I haven't ridden with the group since.

There is also a good bit of evidence that the gut-brain axis and dietary fiber is involved in a wide variety of cognitive issues.
PDF: https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1007/ ... 4d1sKxc%3D

Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:35 pm
For 9, the bike accident left me with a pretty bad traumatic brain injury, and it took several months before I was back to something approaching normal (just check out my late 2018, early 2019 posts on this forum!).
[...]
And for 11, I don't know if any amount of pre- and post-work exercise and activity can really make up for me sitting behind a computer 10+ hours a day.
what the... what?! damn, dude... what happened?

for the desk: get the firm to pony up for one of these maybe? https://www.upliftdesk.com/
make sure you get the “free” (included in the price) rocker board. it’s awesome. a bit like a skateboard, but in front od your keyboard.

there’s a time to be ere, there’s a time to be an optimizer. optimize 10 hours a day with one purchase.
jennypenny wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:47 pm
HB isn't the first forumite to mention suffering after a traumatic bike crash. I'm not convinced that biking is worth the risk until cars and bikes aren't sharing the same roads.
i agree! let’s ban cars from some roads and parts of cities. more bike roads, fewer highways. carbon tax now. holland or denmark for all.
unemployable wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:24 pm

I've written this previously, but one criticism I have of the timbre on these boards is people worry too much about large-scale catastrophes at the expense of the disasters that will strike our bodies and minds with a probability of 1. One obvious response is to get everything done you want to do while you still have the chance. That's ERE in the first place, isn't it?
sure but you can’t take your experiences with you into dementia-land, can you? living well while you’re lucid is one thing, being able to make a quick exit when the time is right is altogether a separate story.

to my future caretakers: be kind to animals, please euthanize me.

having said this, my great grandmother died at age 105 in a state of childhood paradise. she giggled a lot and thought us boys were her kid brother, and died well cared for and not miserable, even though she was *completely out of it* at that point and had shrank to a tiny size.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Dream of Freedom »

There's a lot of talk about alzheimer's being type 3 diabetes, because the neurons stop responding to insulin correctly. So avoid large blood sugar spikes.

What I don't see on there is poor sleep. The glymphatic system only works to clean out plaque when you are asleep.

Also the brain is 60% fat. So eat those omega 3s and avoid oxidized fats.

Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

Dream of Freedom wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:02 pm

Also the brain is 60% fat. So eat those omega 3s and avoid oxidized fats.
entropy always wins in the end though. “good health,” if anything is keeping us going past a reasonable window :lol:

seriously, one system after another breaks down. but the stubborn heart keeps pumping and pumping.

i don’t mind becoming soylent green when the time is right. who wants to live forever?

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unemployable
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by unemployable »

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:54 pm
sure but you can’t take your experiences with you into dementia-land, can you? living well while you’re lucid is one thing, being able to make a quick exit when the time is right is altogether a separate story.
Nancy Reagan used to tell a story about how they had a scale model of Washington DC in some room at their ranch, and her husband would pick up the White House and ask her, "I remember this building, did we go to some party there once?"

So you get to take some of your experiences with you as they fade to black. And you get to have them, and develop them into greater things, for longer in the first place. What's the counter-argument, anyway? That it's better to slowly lose the memories of 40 years of office jobs and mortgage payments and traffic jams and Chicago winters?

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Dream of Freedom »

@Alphaville

Dementia it more of a health span issue than a lifespan issue. When you can't remember your own daughter it kinda cuts down on the quality of the years you have.

Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

unemployable wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:36 pm
What's the counter-argument, anyway? That it's better to slowly lose the memories of 40 years of office jobs and mortgage payments and traffic jams and Chicago winters?
hahaha—in a way, yes.

my argument is that it’s 2 unrelated issues. perpendicular to each other.
Dream of Freedom wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:38 pm
@Alphaville

Dementia it more of a health span issue than a lifespan issue. When you can't remember your own daughter it kinda cuts down on the quality of the years you have.
yeah but my sort-of-point is that the human body did not evolve to such extreme durations outside of mythological tales or the bible or taoist immortals. things do break down one by one these days instead of failing catastrophically in one swift coup.

this is precisely why dementia is such a big concern these days. people used to die more often before their brains went. now the coarse machinery keeps going while the more delicate tissue degrades irreparably.

my great-grandmother didn’t lose her marbles until well into her 90s. could have been 100s or 120s if “still healthy”. or 150. doesn’t matter, if the brain degrades before the rest of the body throws the towel, dementia ensues.

it’s not a health problem, it’s a timing problem.

ertyu
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by ertyu »

The economic impact of the rise in dementia cases will most likely push governments to do more about euthanasia.

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Jean
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Jean »

Have a regular routine that cannot be survived with dementia?

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Sclass
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Sclass »

My mother had dementia. I can add to the list.

I would be particularly mindful of inflammation. My mother started out by having these rheumatoid arthritis flare ups where her knuckles would swell and bleed from little ulcers. I saw a strong correlation between these events and her descent into muddled thought. Whenever the knuckles turned red she would descend into the brain fog. As the swelling cleared so did the mind.

RA inflammation can occur in various places in the body. It is possible she had some inflammation in her brain or in her arteries leading to the brain. My recollection was swollen knuckles correlated with addled mind. When it went away she would act somewhat normal. We’d treat her with meds but her caregivers were unreliable with dosing and she’d have flare ups. It was really frustrating when they’d forget her pill and I’d see her spin out more into dementia.

Mom also had a traumatic life. WW2 refugee, lost her father and brother then raised by an abusive mother. Replaced by my dad. He gave her a few concussions.

When she started catching him in bed with other women she’d have these memory blackouts. She’d call on a Friday and say she caught dad with his mistress. Then she’d call on Sunday and say “Sclass, what happened this weekend...I cannot remember a thing.” It was like she had this trauma induced amnesia. This went on for years during her 50s as my dad screwed his brains out.

After he remarried she would still spend four to six months a year with him. He had an arrangement with his wives so he could work in two different cities for four month stretches. I spoke to mom about it because it weirded me out. She was okay with it but in retrospect I think she had to just block out a lot of reality to carry on like that with the man she loved. This may have been a dangerous game. Forgive and forget? Maybe it’s better to stubbornly cling to grudges. She got really good at forgetting. I think she had to in order to tolerate the deal.

As she really started to spin out she got happier and happier. By the end the only thing that would light her up was saying dad was flying in to visit her.

Mind your thoughts. They can transform you slowly. Don’t bump your head. Control inflammation.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

ertyu wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:07 am
The economic impact of the rise in dementia cases will most likely push governments to do more about euthanasia.
In addition to this, I've seen some discussion about how worthwhile it is to get things like flu vaccines, pneumonia vaccines, etc after you reach a certain age. There is an argument to be made that it's better to die of influenza when you're 80 than live to 90 with dementia.

Of course, like any end of life discussion, the problem is that you don't know how long you have left. You very well could live from 80 to 100 without dementia and with good quality life, so maybe that hip replacement or influenza shot is worth it. Then again, you might not, so maybe the flu is the way to go.

One of my nightmares is getting dementia and then ending up in some kind of elder abuse situation, which is not uncommon.

I suppose too there is the question of what the world looks like 40-60 years from now. Will climate change be such that there are more disease outbreaks generally? Like the public health disaster that was the collapse of the USSR. It only takes a small amount of disruption to kill of vaccine supply chains and distribution programs. Then measles/shingles/pneumonia/influenza/diphtheria/cholera/covid-2079 rolls through.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Hristo Botev »

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:54 pm
what the... what?! damn, dude... what happened?
viewtopic.php?p=173452#p173452

Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:40 am
One of my nightmares is getting dementia and then ending up in some kind of elder abuse situation, which is not uncommon.
this. it happens even to people who are well-cared for by loving families—perhaps only temporarily until it’s detected, but still. besides, stupidity is more common than malice (i think) and even the well-meaning inflict harm.

nightmare #2 is the paralizing stroke.

Alphaville
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Re: Protecting against dementia

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:50 am
viewtopic.php?p=173452#p173452
:shock:

wow. i had no idea. you seem to have mended well and seem to have made the best out of the circumstance.

and yes, cars suck. i do not trust them one bit.

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