Almost 70 per cent of new Alzheimer's sufferers will be women. What makes that fact even more alarming, according to the Women's Brain Health Initiative, is that there is little understanding of why. And why are so few studies currently being undertaken to explore the discrepancy?
A newly created organization, The Women's Brain Health Initiative, (WBHI) intends to change that paradigm. WBHI is dedicated to raising funds for research and education on women's aging brains and I am excited to be a part of this new initiative. We have partnered with the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging (CCNA) -- a collaboration of the best and the brightest researchers and scientists, epidemiologists, doctors and other groups in Canada, all working together. This is amazing as there is hopefulness about moving forward, spending research dollars carefully and working together to transform this aging dilemma.
As the Canadian "rock stars" of neurology and research met this summer in Montreal, WBHI was at the table. And what is even more important, our voice for women was heard. Whether we discussed the impact of caregivers (mostly women) or the need to review the data on the impact of hearing and visual loss with Alzheimer's, women are now part of the research agenda in a meaningful way.
Here are a few facts about preventing dementia that you may not know:
- Research shows that exercise has an impact on brain neuroplasticity, or the ability to adapt and cope with change -- this is major for healthy aging!
- Diets high in antioxidants really do make a difference. Let's eat dark green veggies.
- Social connectedness, hanging out with your friends, has an important role in brain health and that it has huge impact as we age. (We knew that...friends matter!)
I have used the expression that in Canada, medicine is a team sport. We need the coaches, the game plan, the players, both stars and journeymen. And we need the fans! So my goal is to keep you, the fans, informed, interpret some of the new research and share what we know so that we all can make healthier lifestyle choices now, keeping our brains healthy as we age. I don't just want to live longer, but rather, like Spock, I want to live long and prosper...and for me that means in good health!
If you want to find out more about women and Alzheimer's disease and help in this important work, check out our website: www.womensbrainhealthy.org