Worldwide, World Health Organization recorded 35.6 million people having dementia with 7.7 million new cases every year. One of its major causes is Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia, aside from its disabling effects is one of the conditions that cause dependency among older people. Thus, aside from its physical problems, dementia also impacts the physical, psychological social and emotional of those the sufferers their selves and the people that surrounds them.
Dementia Statistics in Australia
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Those who suffer from it may have the symptom s of impaired judgement, memory and thinking. It usually occurs among older people. Dementia has no possible cure but it can be cut or prevented in occurring during old age through the right diet and exercise.
Dementia, according to Australia’s Department of Health website, is not a specific disease, rather, it is an umbrella term that describes a syndrome associated with more than 100 different diseases characterised by the symptoms mentioned above.
The 35.6 million cases of dementia all over the world today is expected to reach 115million by 2050. In Australia, mentioned still in the Department of Health official website, the estimated number of people with dementia is at 298, 000 in 2011. Almost 1 in every 10 Australians aged 65 and above has dementia. By 2050, the government expects this number to reach 900,000, triple its current number.
Although dementia is expected to affect those in old age, it also has cases among younger people. The term for this condition is Younger Onset Dementia, affecting those who are below 65 years of age. In the latest survey last 2011, 23, 900 Australians are affected by the YOD.
In the latest updated numbers of Australian Bureau of Statistics, Dementia is the third cause of deaths coming after the first, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease at second.
Dementia, its Causes
Dementia can be caused by a hundred of other illnesses and condition. Alzheimer’s, the most common one, has been known to have affected famous people like Sugar Ray Robinson, Rita Hayworth, James Doohan and many more.
Other types of dementia commonly known includes:
- Vascular dementia – problems with the blood flow to the brain
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies – same symptoms with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; it’s cause is related to the Lewy Bodies or tiny deposits of protein in the nerve cells
- Korsakoff’s Syndrome – this one is an alcohol related dementia
- Huntington’s Disease – nerve cells in the brain wastes away; can be detected by early symptoms of clumsiness and uncontrolled movements
- Dementia with Parkinson’s
Dementia can also be caused by several metabolic causes such as endocrine disorders, heavy metal exposure, repeat hypoglycaemia, hyperparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, liver cirrhosis and many more.
Not a part of normal aging process, brain aging may happen fast in people with dementia. With the neurodegenerative diseases, the brain cells may start to degenerate and die more quickly. Due to this, the person’s mental and physical capabilities are affected.
Dementia symptoms may include getting lost in familiar routes, language problems and misplacing items at early stage. As it gets worse, it may start to change sleep patterns, events in one’s life will be forgotten, danger recognition is impaired, hallucinations and violent behaviour may manifest, social contact withdrawal and many more.
Brain aging may hasten the onset of dementia and other related disease. When Alzheimer’s set in, brain shrinking can be expected.
In normal human growth, brain ageing is “normal”. Normal brain aging may cause subtle changes such as shrinkage of neurons, loss of brain plasticity and damage. Some may attribute simple forgetting to normal brain ageing, but in truth, it might be an early sign of dementia.
Rapid brain aging though can be prevented. Experts found certain natural components that may help the brain stay active and healthy longer. Omega-3, found in calamari oil, is one of the most notable possible ways to it. Omega-3 are polyunsaturated fat subjected to many studies and are proven to hold positive benefit over many diseases.
Omega-3 from Calamari and Brain Shrinkage
In a study led by James Potalla from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, it has been found that older women with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had slightly less brain shrinkage compared to women who have low omega-3 in their bloods.
The study suggested that the omega-3’s found in calamari oil, fish oil and krill, may have the ability t protect the brain from losing volume during old age. Brain volume loss is normal among those who age normally, among those with dementia, brain shrinkage is severe.
The study Potalla led had 1,111 women studied at the average age of 70 years old. These women at the start of the study have no signs of dementia. The eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fatty acids of omega-3, are measured in the women’s blood.
Eight years after, the women who had their blood tested underwent MRI. The MRI measured the volume of gray matter and white matter of the brain. Women with the highest amount of DHA and EPA have brains that are larger overall than those with the lowest levels of the fatty acid.
In Another study conducted by Dr. Zaldy Tan, associate professor at the Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research and the division of geriatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles, it has been found that healthy older adults aged 58 to 76 with the lowest red blood cells levels of DHA and EPA had older brains and had vascular pattern of cognitive impairment compared to peers.
This findings of the team of Dr. Tan ahs supported previous studies suggesting consumption of omega-3 to be associated with lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Calamari as a Breakthrough in Fighting Brain Aging
Calamari, or squid, is a sustainable source of marine life compared to fish. Its unutilised portion of the catch is usually what gets to be processed for calamari oil. Calamari oil supplements are one alternative to older known omega3 source such as fish oil.
Compared to other omega-3 source, calamari is the highest known source of DHA or the docosahexaenoic acid. DHA, a major building block of the brain, is critical in healthy brain development and function.
DHA may help improve brain function due to its capacity to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase new neuron birth rate in adult brain
- Generate protective brain chemicals (i.e. neuroprotectin D1)
- Increase cell membranes fluidity
- Alter signalling cells pathways
- Protection against beta-amyloid and tau pathways (believed to be associated with Alzheimer’s
Omega-3 may help slow down decline of mild cognitive impairment. Among the young ones, the consumption of calamari and other oemag-3 source may help prevent dementia and rapid brain shrinkage.
Although DHA is very beneficial, people with greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease because of their APOE4 genetic risk factor may have less benefit from it.
Other Aids to omega-3 in fighting Brain aging
In a Harvard website article, it has been suggested that to be able to be able to sharpen brain, one has to strain it. The article suggested that brain exercise may yield a healthier brain. It suggested:
- Learn new things. This will help create new neural pathways.
- Perform challenging tasks. Learn new language, play board games and learn juggling.
- Get uncomfortable. Getting out of comfort zone helps challenge mental skills.
- Be social. Meet unfamiliar people.
Other things to aid brain:
- Brain like all muscles, is a tissue. With underuse and age, it may start declining. Working it out will also work out the brains muscles, according to study.
Eat the right diet. Eating the right diet helps support the brain health. The right nutrition can nourish while the wrong one can help hasten brain shrinkage. Including omega-3 rich foods such as squid, calamari, shrimp or krill, Chia and others is advised by most nutritionists.
* * *
Brain aging and dementia are debilitating conditions. Once you aren’t prepared for it, it can manifests into various ugly ways.
Experts who advocate the omeg-a3 supplements such as calamari advised that not all calamari supplements are equal. It still pays to get a doctor visit. Dose and supplements are always safe once it is advised by doctors.
And for a note, although this article contains information based in facts, its shouldn’t be used as a substitute for doctors advise.