Healthy heart, healthy mind

By Matt Bernard

Healthy heart, healthy mind
Exercising your body also exercises your mind, according to a new study on dementia.

A new report released today by Alzheimer’s Disease International has identified a number of lifestyle and dietary factors that could assist the prevention of dementia.

In New Zealand there are roughly 50,000 New Zealanders living with dementia today, a figure which has been forecast to triple to around 150,000 by 2050. It’s worth noting that the total financial cost of dementia in New Zealand in 2011 was estimated at nearly $1 billion.

Catherine Hall, Executive Director of Alzheimers NZ states: “We’ve known for some time that keeping fit and active, eating well and refraining from smoking is good for our hearts. It now appears that what is good for our hearts is good for our brain.”

The report claimed that by limiting tobacco intake, controlling blood pressure, increasing cardiovascular exercise and better maintaining diabetes, the development of dementia at a later age could be greater prevented.

“There is already evidence from several studies that the incidence of dementia may be falling in high income countries, linked to improvement in education and cardiovascular health. We need to do all we can to accentuate these trends,” said Professor Martin Prince of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.

While this report presents positive results in better understanding dementia, experts are still pushing for greater awareness of the cause. Ms Hall has stressed for the inclusion of these findings in mainstream health promotion campaigns, as the majority of people still believe that age and genetics are the only contributing factors to this vastly complicated disorder.


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