The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
This practical guide to enhancing women's brain health and avoiding Alzheimer's disease is based on the findings of the XX Brain (2020). Women are suffering from an Alzheimer's pandemic, but the medical profession isn't doing anything about it so far, according to a new report. Take control of your health by demanding the medical care you deserve, and take real measures to assist avoid the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to the XX Brain.
Who is it that reads the book The XX Brain?
- Women who want to take preventative measures to safeguard their brains against illness
- Women who are prone to forgetting things and would benefit from more mental clarity
- Health care providers who wish to enhance their approach to women's healthcare should read this book.
Who is Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D., and what does she do?
Dr. Lisa Mosconi, PhD, is the head of the Women's Brain Initiative at Weill Cornell Medical College and the associate director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic. She received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Her earlier book, Brain Food, explored the relationship between what we eat and how our brains function.
What exactly is in it for me? Take control of your health by making lifestyle changes.
Did you know that in the United Kingdom and Australia, Alzheimer's disease claims the lives of more women than breast cancer? Or that a 45-year-old woman has a one-in-five risk of getting Alzheimer's disease before she dies, compared to a man's one-in-ten likelihood of developing the disease? If any of these facts are unfamiliar to you, you are not on your own. A female Alzheimer's pandemic is sweeping the country, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. Unfortunately, the issue has gotten minimal coverage in the media and has garnered only a limited amount of attention from the medical establishment so far. What is the root cause of this epidemic? And, maybe more significantly, what can be done to prevent it? These notes shed light on these issues and provide an inspirational and practical toolbox for ensuring that your brain health flourishes at any age - no matter what your age is.
Among the topics covered in these notes are why moderate exercise is more helpful than pounding the pavement until you pass out, how learning to play an instrument may benefit your brain, and why women are frequently misdiagnosed when they have a heart attack.
Women's health is in a state of crisis as a result of inequalities in the medical profession.
Consider the scenario in which a meteor is racing toward the Earth. Thirty million people living in the impact zone are on the verge of extinction. Space research would be expected to ramp up, frantic headlines would appear in all of the media, and a coordinated effort to do everything necessary to avert the impending catastrophe would be expected to take place. Consider the fact that a comparable number of women will die from Alzheimer's disease over the next 30 years, and yet no one is doing anything to prevent this from happening: no one. What is the reason behind this? As it happens, there is a very particular kind of prejudice at work here, and the implications are very serious. The most important message is that women's health is in a crisis as a result of inequalities in the medical profession.
Historically, males have predominated in the field of medicine. Male physicians sought the advice of male scientists, who performed studies on a disproportionately large number of male patients. The medical profession has evolved to see the human body as de facto masculine. Because women's and men's bodies are different in composition, this is an issue. When a woman has a heart attack, for example, she does not have all of the same symptoms as a male. Women are more likely than males to have flu-like symptoms such as sweating and nausea instead of chest discomfort. And it means they have a seven-fold increased chance of being misdiagnosed and being sent home while suffering from a heart attack. Women also have a different way of metabolizing medication than males. As you would expect, researchers have discovered that women are at risk of damage from the recommended daily dosage of the sleeping medication Ambien. This was discovered after the dose was tested on males.
Women's health has long been addressed by the medical establishment using what is known as "bikini medicine," which is based on the idea that women are distinct in terms of their reproductive organs, but otherwise biologically similar to males. However, this misses a critical point of differentiation: the brain. In terms of depression and anxiety, women are twice as likely as males to suffer from these conditions. They have four times the number of migraines and are three times more likely to develop autoimmune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis than the general population. The fact that two out of every three Alzheimer's patients are female is the most concerning statistic. The illness is so common that a woman over the age of 45 has a one in five risk of getting it during her life. A guy of the same age has a one-in-ten chance of winning the lottery.
Taking care of women's health entails much more than just wearing a bikini. It is more than just a medical problem; it is also a matter of equality. Female health should be handled as a top priority, much as a meteor racing toward Earth should be treated as if it were a life-threatening emergency.
Hormonal changes such as menopause have a significant impact on brain health.
The fact that hormones influence your brain will not come as a surprise if you have ever dealt with the ups and downs of premenstrual syndrome, often known as PMS. You may be shocked to learn how much money is involved. Estrogen is the hormone that has the most effects. Estrogen, often known as the "master regulator," has an impact on almost every essential brain function. Additionally, it assists in the generation of energy, the maintenance of cell health, and the activation of brain regions that are important for memory and attention. It also helps to defend your brain by strengthening your immune system, and it helps to keep your mood stable by assisting the brain in the production of endorphins (happy hormones). That is why it is so heartbreaking for women when they reach menopause and their estrogen levels plummet to dangerously low levels. The most important lesson to take away from this is: Hormonal changes such as menopause have a significant impact on brain health.
A woman reaches menopause when she has had her last menstrual cycle and is no longer fertile - typically in her forties or fifties, but a woman who has had her uterus removed may reach this stage sooner. Aside from the usual symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, the decrease in estrogen has a significant effect on the brain. Many women report that they are affected by sadness and anxiety. Some people may even develop bipolar or schizophrenia symptoms for the first time throughout their treatment. On top of that, women who are going through menopause are more vulnerable to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Studies of the brains of women before and after menopause have shown that activity diminishes when estrogen levels fall. At the same time, the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain, which is a crucial indication of Alzheimer's disease, is increasing. Furthermore, memory areas in the brain have shrunk significantly.It turns out that for 80 percent of women, menopause increases their chance of developing dementia. Alzheimer's disease seems to manifest itself abruptly, although the illness has been developing for decades. While the most obvious signs and symptoms may not appear until later in life, the foundation is built while we are young. Menopause marks the beginning of the end for many women. So, what does all of this imply? Is it possible that you have a hormonal target on your back that you must just accept? No, I don't think so. You must be aware of the consequences of these hormonal changes, as well as how to cope with them effectively.
The consequences of menopause may be controlled by appropriate preventative measures, ensuring that your brain remains healthy during menopause and beyond.
Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of growing older, nor is it necessarily inherited; in most cases, it may be avoided.
Consider all of the fairytales you heard as a kid, as well as all of the fancies and myths you accepted without question. Despite the fact that you are an adult, many of the tales will have stayed with you. Myths are like that; they are all around us. And there are many of them in the field of women's health. However, unlike a charming story, these misconceptions are harmful because they influence the way we think about and handle women's healthcare and treatment issues. One of the most frequent misunderstandings regarding Alzheimer's disease is that women are more likely than males to get the illness because they have a specific Alzheimer's gene mutation. This idea gives the impression that Alzheimer's disease is a natural or predetermined occurrence, and that there is nothing you can do to avoid it. That is incorrect.
The most important lesson to take away from this is that Alzheimer's disease is neither a normal part of growing older or necessarily inherited - it is almost always avoidable. The truth is a difficult thing to grasp. Certain genes do enhance your chances of developing the condition: Alzheimer's disease is triggered by a rare genetic mutation in 1 to 2 percent of cases, and other genes may make you more vulnerable to the disease. Ethnicity is a risk factor for heart disease. If you are an African-American woman, your odds of developing Alzheimer's disease or having a stroke are twice as high as those of a white woman, according to recent research. If you are Hispanic, you have a one and a half times greater chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, a genetic predisposition does not imply that a disease is a predetermined outcome. According to studies, improving one's health and making better lifestyle choices may prevent at least one-third of all Alzheimer's disease cases.
A second misconception that has to be dispelled is the idea that women are more likely than males to get Alzheimer's disease as a result of living longer lives. According to this misconception, it is a sickness that affects the elderly. Given that women live longer lives than males, it stands to reason that they will also acquire Alzheimer's disease at a higher rate. On the surface, this seems to be reasonable, but upon deeper examination, the facts do not support this. For starters, women do not live much longer lives than males — on average, they only live three to five years longer. In addition, women are more likely than males to develop Alzheimer's disease at an earlier age. Furthermore, women are not more vulnerable to other age-related illnesses such as Parkinson's disease or stroke than males. Therefore, someone else must be responsible for this catastrophic pandemic. It seems logical to assume that.
It is past time to reject the fairytales that would lead us to think that Alzheimer's disease is a natural or predetermined disease and instead address it as the catastrophe that it is - a crisis that can and should be avoided if we act quickly.
Take a look at your general health to see whether you are at risk for Alzheimer's disease.
If you're playing a game of poker and you're given a hand that has just kings and aces, you may believe you're on to a winning hand. Those who have been given a sure-fire hand and yet lost will understand that nothing is certain until the cards are dealt and dealt correctly. The same can be said about Alzheimer's disease risk factors.You may have a variety of risk factors for developing the illness, but none of them guarantee that you will eventually get the disease. They are just red signals that must be observed and dealt with. Precision medicine, which is becoming more popular, allows therapies to be customized to your particular requirements - meaning that, no matter what hand you've been dealt, you may now enhance your chances. The most important lesson to take away from this is: Take a look at your general health to see whether you are at risk for Alzheimer's disease.
You may begin to evaluate your risk of developing a brain illness by taking into consideration your genetic composition, your surroundings, and your lifestyle. Your brain and body are intricately intertwined with one another. Do you have a weight problem? Are you suffering from heart disease or diabetes? All of these things are risk factors. TBIs are another consideration, since blunt force trauma may decrease blood flow to the brain and induce inflammation. While this is a natural and healthy response, the body may be unable to switch off its inflammatory response in certain circumstances. This results in persistent, low-grade inflammation that depletes the body's supply of brain hormones over time.
Other risk factors may be discovered in your surrounding surroundings as well. It is possible that harmful substances are present in the food you consume, the containers in which you eat it, and the items you use on your skin. When determining risk, it is critical to do a thorough evaluation of the poisons present in your surroundings. To be sure, smoking is one of the most efficient ways to introduce harmful chemicals into your system. When it comes to heart and brain problems, women who smoke are at significantly increased risk. Taking these risk variables into consideration may be a frightening process. Risk, on the other hand, is not the same as destiny. Make an appointment with your doctor to have a complete physical exam performed, as well as tests for things like cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid function, and infections. Knowing what kind of hand you've been dealt allows you to be forewarned – and forearmed – in the battle against Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
Menopause hormone treatment has its critics, yet it is not something we should rule out completely.
We have placed a great deal of trust in the pharmaceutical business to solve all of our issues for us. If Alzheimer's disease is such a significant problem for women, surely there must be a medication that may alleviate the problem? Unfortunately, it is not that straightforward. An astonishing 99.6 percent of Alzheimer's medicines fail in clinical trials, making them the most successful of all the drugs tested. Moreover, as we've seen, women's particular experiences with Alzheimer's disease have gotten less attention from medical researchers. Menopause hormone therapies, commonly known as MHT, are a therapeutic option that has shown some promise. If declining estrogen and progesterone levels after menopause contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's disease, it would seem reasonable that artificially replenishing estrogen and progesterone might aid in the treatment of the disease. These therapies, on the other hand, are divisive.
The main point is that, although menopause hormone treatment has its critics, it should not be dismissed out of hand. In 1993, a clinical study was initiated to investigate the effects of MHT on the human body. The research, which included 160,000 women and was to span 15 years, was expected to collect data on 160,000 women. However, 10 years later, in 2003, the project was suddenly cancelled. MHTs were shown to raise the risk of stroke, blood clots, cancer, and dementia in women who used them in a research conducted by the American Heart Association. People were understandably concerned, and women began to leave these treatments in large numbers.
However, there were several problems in the study that put into doubt the validity of the findings. For starters, only women in their sixties and seventies who were far into menopause were subjected to the study. Many of these women were likely already suffering from problems such as thickened arteries, which may lead to heart disease. In addition, the research only looked at long-term usage of MHTs at high dosages, not low ones. It didn't provide any insight into whether shorter-term usage at low dosages might be beneficial or safe in the long run.
Due to the fact that these issues have never been addressed in large-scale research, many unanswered questions regarding MHT remain. However, some encouraging findings have emerged from smaller trials conducted with women who took MHT for short periods of time before the age of 60 and within five years after the menopause. MHTs have also been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease in women who have undergone hysterectomies, as well as to enhance the health of their brains. Consequently, the burning issue is whether or not you should take them. As should be obvious, this is a complicated issue that is best addressed by your doctor, who can evaluate your specific risk factors and balance the potential advantages against those risks.
Dietary balance and nutritional richness are essential for maintaining optimal brain function.
It's likely that you've seen yourself going for a cup of coffee when you're feeling tired. This is because the foods and beverages you consume have an impact on your brain. Our brains rely on food to restore energy and to assist in the performance of vital tasks. If you want to keep your brain healthy, the first thing you should focus on is your nutrition. Conventional knowledge about what we should eat is always shifting. Diets rich in fat, such as "keto" diets, were popular in the early 1990s. Today, high-fat "keto" diets are popular. The reality is that no extreme diet is beneficial to your mental health. Instead, pay attention to the quality of the food you consume. The most important lesson to take away from this is that eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is the best approach to improving your brain's function.
Some fats are harmful to your health, while others are necessary. Take, for example, trans fats. Because they have undergone extensive processing, they are harmful to your body in any quantity. On the other hand, the unsaturated fats found in avocados, almonds, and fish are beneficial to your heart and brain, particularly if you consume them on a regular basis. Carbohydrates are no exception to this rule. The consumption of sugary foods, such as white bread, spaghetti, and cakes, causes your blood sugar to rise and then fall, making it difficult for your body to maintain a healthy balance of energy. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, such as those found in vegetables, brown rice, and quinoa, are rich in fiber, which helps to keep estrogen and blood sugar levels in check.
Chickpeas, flaxseeds, and apricots are all nutritious foods that may help you maintain a healthy estrogen level. And, if you want to actively improve the health of your brain, you should consume superfoods that are high in antioxidants on a regular basis. At mealtimes, half of your plate should be piled high with vegetables — the more colorful the veggies, the better the meal. In order to assist your body in digesting all of these nutrients, you must also maximize the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics (foods that serve as a sort of "fertilizer," such as onions, bananas, and garlic) and probiotics (found in yogurt) should be consumed in large quantities to achieve this.
However, even with the finest diet, you may need additional assistance from time to time. If you're feeling depressed or abnormally fatigued, ask your doctor to check your levels of B vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are critical for your mental and emotional well-being as well as your brain health and function. It is possible to enable your body – and brain – to thrive by eating a well-balanced diet of high-quality foods and supplementing when necessary.
Brain health requires regular, low-intensity exercise on a regular basis. And the slower you go, the better it is as you grow older.
Isn't there a famous tale about how the hare sprints past the tortoise in a race and seems to be winning, but then he becomes tired and the tortoise, who maintains a steady pace, eventually wins and crosses the finish line first? It turns out that, when it comes to exercising, women should adopt a more tortoise-like approach than they should adopt when it comes to hares. Regular low-to-moderate-intensity exercise has many health advantages, but it is particularly beneficial to your brain's overall health and well-being. Essentially, the message is that regular, low-intensity exercise is critical for maintaining brain function. And the slower you go, the better it is as you grow older. Exercise offers a plethora of health-promoting properties. It helps to keep your heart healthy by decreasing plaque accumulation in your arteries, and it makes you feel good by causing the production of endorphins. But, maybe more significantly, it aids in the preservation of your mental youth.
Because exercise causes the production of growth hormones, which aid in the repair and formation of new connections between neurons, it is perhaps unexpected that women who exercise frequently have a very low risk of getting dementia later in life. However, if the idea of exercising conjures up thoughts of grueling hours spent pumping iron in the gym, have no fear: women's bodies thrive on regular exercise of low to moderate intensity, performed on a regular basis. However, although there is no such thing as a universally effective workout, it is a good idea to tailor your fitness routine to your specific age group. Women in their twenties and thirties may benefit from a combination of increased aerobic exercise to help delay the aging process and maintain optimal estrogen levels. Women of this age should aim to exercise for about 45 minutes three times a week in an ideal situation.
Following menopause, it is recommended that you increase the frequency of your activity while decreasing the intensity, aiming to exercise for about 30 minutes five times a week. There are a variety of reasons why this technique is the most successful. First and foremost, high-intensity exercises boost cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, and this may lead to increased inflammation and muscle or joint pain. Second, intense exercises require longer recuperation time, which is dependent on obtaining enough sleep - something that many postmenopausal women find difficult to do. Finally, high-intensity exercise may cause muscle injury and increase the risk of bone fractures in older women. Instead, try yoga, pilates, some gardening, or a half-hour bike ride to get your heart rate going. The most beneficial exercise is routine and done on a regular basis. And your brain will be grateful to you for it.
It is past time to address the stress pandemic that is wreaking havoc on women's health.
Have you ever found yourself in a scenario when several people are asking you to do various things at the same time, and you find yourself spinning about in a tizzy, attempting to satisfy everyone's demands at the same time? Then you're like the majority of contemporary women, who must frequently strike a balance between the obligations of full-time work and the needs of their families and children. When you throw in the responsibility of caring for elderly parents, you have a recipe for disaster. And that is detrimental to the brain. The main message is that it is past time to address the stress pandemic that is wreaking havoc on women's health.
The achievement of equality in the workplace has not been transferred to equality at home. Women are overworked and undersupported in their careers. Having a high level of chronic stress has been the norm, but this should not be the case. Stress is associated with poor sleep, depressed moods, and an increased chance of developing depression. It has even been shown to cause brain shrinkage! As a result, we must bring stress levels under control. But how do you do it? Allowing our brains to take a break from continuous mental stimulation is one method of doing this. These days, we're constantly linked to depressing news and business emails throughout the day. Exercise the habit of taking a digital detox and limiting how much time you spend on your phone and checking work email outside of work hours.
If your thoughts are racing all the time, meditation or mindfulness is a wonderful technique to learn and put into practice. However, the final effect is always consistent: you allow your mind to be at peace. In addition, the health advantages are enormous: according to recent research, individuals who meditated consistently over a period of many years decreased their mortality risk from heart disease by 48 percent! To be sure, the most effective method of allowing your mind to relax is via sleep. It is critical to get enough sleep in order to enable your body and brain to repair and mend. While some people manage to get by on little sleep, many others suffer from melancholy and irritability as a result of inadequate rest.
Attempt a half-hour wind-down period before bedtime without the use of technology or other forms of stimulation to see if it helps you sleep better. Make your bedroom as dark as possible, and make sure it is not too warm. However, if none of these strategies work, the author recommends consulting with your doctor about taking melatonin pills and/or consuming foods such as pistachios before night, which are naturally rich in melatonin. Stress has come to be accepted as a normal part of our lives, yet it is anything from natural in nature. In reality, it's a lethal assassination weapon. As a result, we must make addressing it a top priority.
The stimulation of your intellect will aid in the development of your brain.
When was the last time you were surprised by something you didn't expect? Or did you take advantage of the chance to do something that was outside of your comfort zone? When we are younger, it seems like we are always trying out new things. However, as we get older, we tend to become stale in our old habits and lose interest in trying new things. That's terrible news for the health of our brains. Simply stated, in order to keep your brain healthy, you must make use of it on a regular basis. The most important lesson to take away from this is that intellectual stimulation will aid in the development of your brain.
Over the course of 15 years, researchers tracked the activities of 900 individuals and discovered that those who had fascinating professions or degrees had much more cognitive reserves. A study of 400 seniors found comparable favorable results: those who were intellectually active had a 54 percent reduced chance of mental deterioration than those who were not involved intellectually. Patients with the uncommon gene mutation that causes Alzheimer's disease may have their symptoms delayed or perhaps prevented altogether if they are intellectually engaged. A well-stimulated brain has better connections between brain cells, which makes it more flexible and robust, and it can react to stimuli more quickly as a result of the stimulation.
Unfortunately, women have traditionally had fewer chances to get higher degrees or to work in challenging environments, resulting in many of them being unable to reap the advantages of these brain-boosting activities. That is progressively changing, but it is still uneven in today's society. Fortunately, there are alternative methods of stimulating your brain. And, although the current surge in popularity of online games has not been scientifically proved to be beneficial, there are a variety of offline methods that are effective.
The act of reading the newspaper or a decent book can stimulate your neurons. Going to the theater, seeing a documentary, or playing a board game with friends can all help you unwind. But keep in mind that you want to push yourself – as well as your intellect — with this exercise. If you're already a chess master, branch out and try a new strategy game. If your typical reading material consists of light-hearted romances, try a classic novel for a change of pace. Taking on a new challenge is one of the most effective methods to keep your brain in shape. Have you ever wanted to learn how to create beautiful pastries from scratch? Alternatively, how about learning to play the violin? If so, now is an excellent moment to do so.
The sooner you begin eating healthfully, exercising, minimizing stress, and engaging your intellect, the greater your chances are of success later on. It is past time for the world to sit up and take note of the state of women's brain health, but you have the ability to take control of your health right now, beginning with yourself and your family.
The most important message in these notes is that women's brain health is in a state of crisis, but that the Alzheimer's pandemic may be avoided. Furthermore, by proactively evaluating your general health, you may be able to postpone or even prevent the beginning of the illness entirely. It is the most essential lifestyle adjustment you can make if you want to substantially enhance the health of your brain. Diet, exercise, stress reduction, and intellectual stimulation are the most critical changes you can make. Advice that can be put into action: Do you wake up feeling dizzy in the morning? Drink a glass of warm water to refresh yourself. Our brains are composed mostly of water. As a result, even moderate dehydration has a significant effect on them. In fact, studies have shown that drinking adequate water may enhance brain performance by as much as 30%! Warm water, on the other hand, may be absorbed much more efficiently by the body. Consequently, if you want to start your day on a positive note, drink a glass of warm water as soon as you get out of bed in the morning.
Written by BrookPad Team based on The XX Brain by Lisa Mosconi, PhD