If you are old enough to remember a time before mobile devices, smart tech and the Internet of things, you probably recall what it was like to remember your own phone number. Technology has changed the way we live, but it has also changed the way we think, learn, and otherwise process information.
It may also have changed the game, as far as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are concerned. According to some scientists, on-going research has already made a strong claim for a link between our over-dependence on technology and the disease. Of course, Alzheimer’s was known long before the first cell phone was released, so there are other factors at play. Too much tech may simply be helping them along.
A Glance at Alzheimer’s
Many people associate the disease popularly known for causing severe memory loss with old age. However, the early signs of dementia can start manifesting shortly after age 30, which is when body metabolism rates begin to decrease.
As many as 26 million people are currently affected directly by Alzheimer’s, and as much as 20 per cent of the world’s population is at risk of developing it. Early symptoms can include anxiety and depression, temporary unconsciousness, difficulties learning, and difficulties with speech or other forms of communication.
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Causes and Symptoms
It is unlikely that the excessive use of technology is the sole cause of the misunderstood illness; it could complicate matters if another factor linked to it is already at play.
Among those linked to Alzheimer’s are abnormal build-ups of protein on the brain, known as amyloid plaques, that affect mental functions, and a nerve cell-killing protein called Tau. Medical treatment has effectively prevented further damage caused by Tau in patients.
Other factors that could contribute to, or be warning signs of, developing the disease include social withdrawal and increasing loneliness, poor personal hygiene and grooming, and disturbances of sight, hearing, and sense of smell. Regular drinking and smoking, and even type 3 diabetes are also recognised as possible contributing factors.
The lack of mental exercise is widely recognised as a leading cause of dementia, as actively using the memory causes the brain to forge new connections. In addition to this very factor being highlighted by the modern dependence on smart technology, it is also evident in cases of patients with a poor academic background.
No Need to Quit Tech
Throwing out all your tech would be as pointless as a surgeon trading scalpels and lasers for flint knives. The smart move is to put the gadgets down for some time every day, and to use the time you would have spent Facebooking to do something that can help fight off other possible causes.
There are various ways in which you can decrease the risk of being diagnosed with it. You can practice balancing exercises for a minute twice a day. There is also a lot of brain-boosting to be had by reading novels and other books, as well as by doing crossword or Sudoku puzzles, or playing Scrabble and similar games, which is a perfect way to socialise and beat the loneliness.
Eating cabbage, curly lettuce, spinach, and legumes contain an amino acid known as folic acid. Studies have shown it can help reduce amyloid plaques. Turmeric has also been linked to preventing the disease, as has Vitamin E, which is found in sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil, nuts, and Jerusalem artichokes. Green tea, red fruit and berries, and Omega 3-rich cold-water fish are other foods to be included in a diet aimed at preventing the condition.
Through a combination of dietary tips and suggestions of activities, it is possible to live a life that supports not only a healthy body, but a healthy mind as well – and, yes, you can still Instagram it.