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Pattaya Daily News

23 March 2013 :: 08:03:32 am 71738

Having Sex And Playing Cards May Prevent Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of severe dementia usually striking elderly people. But activities that stimulate the brain and body, such as playing cards or having sex, may reduce the chance of getting Alzheimer’s, according to the Health Ministry.
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Worldwide, more than 25 million people presently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number will grow by 5 million per year. In Thailand, there will be an estimated 1.3 million people with Alzheimer’s disease within the next 10 years.

More Thai women than men will end up with the disease. Also, Thais living in rural areas have a 60 percent greater chance of having Alzheimer’s compared to city dwellers.

The fifth annual conference on reducing Alzheimer’s disease in Thailand will be held February 15 at the Garden of Health in the Public Health Ministry. The Ministry has joined to sponsor the event with the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation of Thailand and the Center of Excellence in Biological science in the Ministry of Science and Technology.

A goal of the conference is to spread information to Thai people about Alzheimer’s disease, and urge them to take measures to prevent or delay the disease, said Dr. Chonnan Seekaew MD., deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Health.

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by nerve cell degeneration and loss of function and made even more chronic by aging. Research is still continuing about what causes clumps of protein to become “tangled” inside the brain and interfere with its functions.

The onset of Alzheimer’s causes amnesia and results in behavioral and personality changes. The disease eventually results in premature death with the loss of basic body functions in the terminal stages.

Medical researchers are making progress in discovering the causes and ways to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease, and recommend a healthy diet, exercise and daily “brain gymnastics.” Some believe that using too little of the mental functions of the brain may be a factor in developing Alzheimer’s.

“An issue of concern is the use of tools to perform mental functions instead using the brain, such as using calculators. The lack of nerve cell stimulation by underusing the brain’s mental capacity creates a kind of ‘brain rust,’” Dr. Chonnan said.

People should be trained to use their brains more often, starting from childhood, and include exercises such as chanting the multiplication table, alphabet rhyming and remembering prayers, he suggested. Meanwhile, adult can engage in daily “brain gymnastics,” such as reading, writing, playing board games, doing crossword puzzles or learning a foreign language.

The health ministry’s goal in the next 3 to 5 years is to reduce the rate of new Alzheimer’s disease patients between the ages of 60-70 years old to less than 10 percent of that age group.

The Ministry issued the policy to medical institutes and departments that specialize in treating the elderly, to develop the complete system to prevent and care the Alzheimer’s patients, and help them to delay the deterioration while working to restore brain functions, Dr. Chonnan said.

Doctor Yuth Potharamik, the chairman of the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation of Thailand, said that people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure and unhealthy daily stress, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

He mentioned a recent article in an English medical journal that said having sex causes the brain to release endorphins, a substance that may help prevent Alzheimer’s. The article also suggested that elderly people keep active by stimulating their brains by exercises with numbers calculating, or by playing cards and board games.

Besides mental exercises, exercising and praying are also good activities, said Dr. Nantika Tawichachart, the secretary board director of Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation of Thailand.

The foundation has joined with the Center of Excellence in Biology to develop a screening program to find people who have higher risks of Alzheimer’s disease. The program can be used to test and look after the elderly and can help to more accurately determine the risk of early Alzheimer’s symptoms.

However, the test results should be evaluated by a medical specialist. The public can download the free software program by visiting the foundation’s website, www.alz.or.th, or the website of the Center of Excellence of Biology, (Public Organization) at: www.tcels.or.th

Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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