Study: Women More Likely to Suffer from Alzheimer’s

Woman Holding TempleFor as much as we know about the human brain, there are still countless questions yet to be answered. One of them, according to researchers at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences in North Carolina, has to do with why women are more likely than men to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and almost two-thirds of Americans diagnosed with it are women. Moreover, at age 65 women without the disorder have greater than a one in six chance of developing it during their lifetime, while men of the same age have only a one in 11 chance.

In a recent study of nearly 400 seniors, researchers found that women experience a decline in healthy brain function at a much faster rate than men. And, once the early symptoms of cognitive deterioration (including memory loss and disorientation) begin to show, overall decline in healthy brain function tends to happen more quickly in women—about twice as fast.

Despite their findings, it is still unclear why women seem more vulnerable than men to Alzheimer’s and similar disorders. Possible contributing factors may include hormonal or DNA differences, as well as lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical activity. Duke scientists hope this and other studies may one day help with Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention.


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3 Simple Tips for a Heart-Healthy Summer

woman_drinking_waterSpending time outdoors this summer is a great way to stay active and naturally boost vitamin D levels, but keep in mind that rising temperatures can take a toll on your heart. Even a healthy heart needs to work harder to cool off in hot weather, so be sure to follow these 3 simple tips for a heart-healthy season:

  1. Exercise Smarter: Plan outdoor activities during cooler hours. Wear light-colored, breathable fabrics and avoid exercising when the sun is at its strongest (typically between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM). Ease into that run or bike ride, and stop to rest if you feel short of breath or lightheaded. Water activities such as swimming may provide cooler alternatives, or check your local rec center for indoor fitness classes.
  2. Hydrate: It is always important to drink enough water, and a good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified (filtered) water daily. However, your body may need even more water on hot days, so be sure to hydrate before, during, and after any physical activity—even low-impact activity such as gardening.
  3. Eat Right: Why put extra stress on your heart this summer? Stick to a diet rich in protein, healthy fats (especially from fish and olive oil), low-sugar fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Eliminate added sugars, starchy carbohydrates, and trans fats.

Finally, take extra precautions if you are overweight, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or have an increased risk of heart disease. Remember that your heart has to put in a little more effort to keep you healthy despite the heat, and you can help by doing your part.

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