Preventing Memory Loss

April 4, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 13
Are we on the way to curing age-related dementia?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

An exercise class at a Miami health clinic helps seniors stay active — and preserve brain function. Exercise speeds up the rate at which new nerve cells are generated in the hippocampus, a brain region crucial to making new memories. Healthy diets also are associated with lower risk of age-related dementias.  (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)
An exercise class at a Miami health clinic helps seniors stay active — and preserve brain function. Exercise speeds up the rate at which new nerve cells are generated in the hippocampus, a brain region crucial to making new memories. Healthy diets also are associated with lower risk of age-related dementias. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

As the nation's baby boomers age, they are increasingly worried that their memories will deteriorate — and with good reason. An estimated 10 million boomers will develop Alzheimer's disease or another memory-destroying neurodegenerative condition in the coming years. Policy makers and health officials worry that the resulting bulge in the number of sufferers will burden the nation's already strained health-care system. In the wake of these concerns, a vibrant brain-fitness industry is offering a variety of ways to help people keep their brains healthy, including the use of cognition-enhancing drugs and exercise. But many experts say much of what the public is being told is of limited value, at best. Intensified brain research begun years ago at the National Institutes of Health is just now beginning to produce data that scientists hope will advance efforts to prevent memory loss, but they worry that flat federal funding since 2003 may compromise the drive for solutions.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Alzheimer's Disease
Jul. 24, 2015  Treating Alzheimer's Disease
Mar. 04, 2011  Treating Alzheimer's
Apr. 04, 2008  Preventing Memory Loss
May 15, 1998  Alzheimer's Disease
Jul. 24, 1992  Alzheimer's Disease
Nov. 11, 1983  Alzheimer's: Mystery Disease of the Elderly
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Elderly Health Issues
Medical Research and Advocacy
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