For memory and cognitive problems it is certainly true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best validated strategies may seem “basic” but doing following them can make a big difference over time.
Regular aerobic exercise seems to significantly reduce the risk of memory problems and helps those with mild memory problems reduce them.
- Using and challenging your mind
Long term studies find that the best protection against memory and cognitive problems is “brain exercise”. Challenging your brain by learning new things, crossword puzzles, conversations with interesting people, etcetera.
- Aggressive treatment of high cholesterol or hypertension
Both high cholesterol and hypertension increase the risk of cognitive disorders. So early and aggressive intervention. In our section on diets we talk about how diet can reduce both of these risk factors. Exercise also helps, but many people have to take medications. You should follow your primary care doctor’s recommendations and initiate treatment early, if it is necessary.
- Some supplements
Certain supplements are worth considering, particularly fish oil, B vitamins, and gingko biloba.