The researchers traced high blood pressure’s association with declining brain function over years, in data from six large studies that they pooled and analyzed. They show that blood pressure-related cognitive decline happens at the same pace in people of Hispanic heritage as in non-Hispanic white people.
The team had set out to see if differences in long-term blood pressure control explained why Hispanic people face a 50% higher overall risk of dementia by the end of their life than non-Hispanic white people in the United States.
But the new findings suggest that other factors may play a bigger role in that disparity.
As people age, changes such as hearing and vision loss, memory loss, disability, trouble getting around, and the loss of family and friends can make it difficult to maintain social connections. This makes older adults more likely to be socially isolated or to feel lonely. Although they sound similar, social isolation and loneliness are different, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Loneliness is the distressing feeling of being alone or separated, while social isolation is the lack of social contacts and having few people to interact with regularly.
Several recent studies show that older adults who are socially isolated or feel lonely are at higher risk for heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline. A 2021 study of more than 11,000 adults older than age 70 found that loneliness was associated with a greater risk of heart disease. Another recent study found that socially isolated older adults experienced more chronic lung conditions and depressive symptoms compared to older adults with social support.
Full disclosure. I am a senior who lives alone. I do have a girlfriend and a dog whom I consider to be constant companions, so that may temper the damage of living solo as reported by Medical News Today.
Possibly one of the oldest and most widespread cooking cliches is the fish are brain food. I can still hear my mother telling me to eat my fish “it’s good for your brain.” Well, guess what. It’s true.
WebMD says, “Fish really is brain food. A protein source associated with a great brain boost is fish — rich in omega 3 fatty acids, essential for brain function and development. These healthy fats have amazing brain power: higher dietary omega 3 fatty acids are linked to lower dementia and stroke risks; slower mental decline; and may play a vital role in enhancing memory, especially as we get older.
“For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.”
As a senior citizen and one who has dementia in his family, I was especially gratified to learn this.
In addition to eating fish, remember that cardiovascular exercise also benefits the brain directly because it sends oxygen molecules to the brain and creates new neurotransmitters.
Researchers compared the eating habits and mental abilities of nearly 4,000 older Midwesterners. Participants’ diets were scored for adherence to a traditional Greek diet, and cognitive performance was tested every 3 years. Even after adjusting for other lifestyle factors, those with higher “MedDiet” scores suffered slower cognitive decline over time, according to the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Newsletter.
The Mediterranean Diet is rich in vegetables and fruits
Although there’s no single true “Mediterranean diet”—people in Tunisia eat differently from those in, say, Greece—certain common components of the region’s diet have previously been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists looked for:
• High intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, fish and cereals
• High intake of unsaturated fatty acids but low intake of saturated lipids
• Low intake of dairy products, meat and poultry
• Mild to moderate alcohol consumption Continue reading →