What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. A study led by epidemiologist Carol Brayne at the University of Cambridge, UK shows that the level of dementia in the UK and Denmark has considerably decreased over the years. Dementia is a general breakdown of the intellect and personality, with disintegration of memory, attention and emotional control. About two third of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, in which neurons die off amid distinctive clumps of proteins. The next most common form of dementia is vascular dementia, caused by the deterioration of the brain’s blood vessels and often involving minor strokes. It appears that intellectual activities such as long term education, multiple cognitive functions undertaken across the life course, a diet rich in fish, vegetables and fruits and not too much red meat or high-calorie junk food contribute to keep healthy blood vessels and fight off dementia. Healthy blood vessels are critical for good cognitive function in later life, minimising the risk of vascular and cognitive dementia. Exercise helps also slow down intellectual decline as we age.

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