Tag Archives: early onset dementia

I am 75 and Happy to be Alive

I often get ideas for blog posts while riding my bicycle and today was no exception. While I got in 15 miles this morning in chilly (28F) Chicago, I was thinking about how happy and lucky I am to be enjoying such good health on my 75th birthday. I can honestly say that although retired for 15 years, I am healthier and happier than I was 20 years ago when I was in the midst of an active and exciting career.

A friend of mine decorated this shot of me and Gabi last year for my birthday.

A friend of mine decorated this shot of me and Gabi last year for my birthday.

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. But I learned and began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly five years, but if you want to get control of your weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off.

Regular readers know that the blog now covers a far broader scope than just losing weight. That is a simple problem easily dealt with once you put your mind to it. I have expanded the purview to include the understanding that healthy eating is healthy aging. And, if you do it right, you can live a long, healthy and happy life with your mental faculties intact the whole way. I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, so my brain continuing to work is something I am very concerned about. I am proud to say that I have one of the few blogs that ties exercise to a healthy brain. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain – and Exercise to learn more.

I’m sorry if the following paragraph is going to sound like bragging; that is not my intention. I just want to document that I not only talk the talk, but I walk the walk. My resting heart rate is under 50. My cholesterol under 200;  the HDL (the good cholesterol) is around 85. I am 5 feet 9-1/2 inches tall (vs 5 feet 11 inches 10 years ago). I weigh just under 155 pounds and have a 32 inch waist. That is about the same as when I was a senior in high school in 1957. At present I take no medication except Flomax for my prostate.

I wanted to share this information with you because so many people I run into who are in their late 50’s and 60’s seem to be giving up on their health and conditioning. They act like it’s over. The phrase ‘I’m gettin’ old’ bubbles out of their mouths regularly. A lot of the posts I write for this blog are meant to demonstrate that by focusing on your eating and making sure you get adequate exercise you can continue to enjoy yourself for many more years.

It’s up to you now. I have to go get ready. My girlfriend is taking me out for a fancy dinner tonight.

I wish you all good luck!


Postscript: Since I mentioned my birthday dinner, I thought I would share the following with you. Here is a link for the restaurant – 16 at Trump Tower. This may have been the first Michelin graded restaurant I ever dined in.

Below is a shot of the first course, Laugoustine in its shell with Seville Orange, pine nuts, Avocado and Chorizo. It tasted as beautiful as it looks.

Life is good.

securedownload-7IMG_6389This was the cheese cart at the end.


Filed under 75th birthday, aging, biking

Lower IQ and Poorer Cardiovascular Fitness in Teen Years Hikes Risk of Early-onset Dementia

Men who at the age of 18 years have poorer cardiovascular fitness and/or a lower IQ more often suffer from dementia before the age of 60. This is shown in a recent study encompassing more than one million Swedish men.

In several extensive studies, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy,  University of Gothenburg, have previously analyzed Swedish men’s conscription results and were able to show a correlation between cardiovascular fitness as a teenager and health problems in later life.

puzzle brain

Increased risk for early-onset dementia
In their latest study , based on data from 1.1 million young Swedish men, the Gothenburg researcher team shows that those with poorer cardiovascular fitness and/or lower IQ in their teenage years more often suffer from early-onset dementia.

“Previous studies have shown the correlation between cardiovascular fitness and the risk of dementia in old age. Now, for the first time, we can show that the increased risk also applies to early-onset dementia and its precursors,” says Sahlgrenska Academy researcher Jenny Nyberg, who headed the study.

Controlled for other risk factors
Expressed in figures, the study shows that men who when conscripted had poorer cardiovascular fitness were 2.5 times more likely to develop early-onset dementia later in life. A lower IQ entailed a 4 times greater risk, and a combination of both poor cardiovascular fitness and low IQ entailed a 7 times greater risk of early-onset dementia.
The increased risk remained even when controlled for other risk factors, such as heredity, medical history, and social-economic circumstances.

Fitness strengthens the brain
“We already knew that physical and cognitive exercise reduces the risk of neurological disease. Physical exercise increases nerve cell complexity and function and even generation of new nerve cells in the adult brain, which strengthens our mental and physiological functions. In other words, good cardiovascular fitness makes the brain more resistant to damage and disease,” says Prof. Georg Kuhn, senior author of the study. (My emphasis)

Please check out my Page Important Facts about your brain and exercise for more information on the nature and benefits of exercise on the brain.

Dementia is not a disease but a group of different diseases characterized by the gradual worsening of cognitive abilities. Dementia is seen across all ethnic groups and increasingly so with advancing age. Among 65–69-year-olds, about 2 percent are afflicted, with this figure doubling for every five years of age.

The quoted study encompassed all Swedish men conscripted for mandatory military service between the years 1968 and 2005, a total of 1.1 million individuals. In the study, the researchers have compared the results from the conscripts’ cardiovascular fitness and IQ tests with information from national disease registries. During the study period, a total of 660 men were diagnosed with early-onset dementia.


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Filed under aging, Alzheimer's, cardio exercise, cardiovascular risk, dementia, Exercise