Drinking 25ml of wine a day is one of three habits a UK scientist has said can help prevent Alzheimer’s.
Meanwhile, the Government has revealed that a series of potentially world-leading Australian projects are under way to combat dementia as part of a $200 million research investment.
But in the interim, it is good to know that Aussies won’t have to wait for the lab results before taking up some simple habits that can stall dementia.
Dr Ian Harrison, from University College London, told the Cheltenham Science Festival this week that a new focus of dementia research was on ways the brain could ‘self-clean’ itself of the toxic build-up of proteins.
These proteins have been associated with neuron cell deaths associated with Alzheimer’s.
The self-cleaning mechanism is part of the glymphatic system. Science is now discovering that glymphatic functionality is helped by drinking a small glass of wine a day, doing a little exercise to get the heart pumping and getting adequate sleep.
Dr Harrison said studies on the cerebrospinal fluid in mice had shown a combination of sleep, exercise and alcohol stimulated self-cleaning.
The mice given a low-level dose of alcohol for a month showed up to a 40 per cent improvement in brain self-cleaning.
But exposed to medium or high levels of alcohol saw a decline in the function, Dr Harrison said.
Meanwhile, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said yesterday that three years into the five-year Boosting Dementia Research Initiative, results to address dementia prevention, management and cures looked promising.
The $200 million initiative supports 127 projects involving 285 researchers working across 24 universities and research institutions.
“Australia is now a world leader in many aspects of dementia research,” said Mr Wyatt in releasing a progress report on the initiative.
“Dementia is the second most common cause of death in this country and for women it has eclipsed heart disease to become the leading cause. It is estimated that 1700 Australians develop dementia each week.
Among the projects supported by the initiative are:
- using ultrasound technology to improve memory and slow the onset of dementia by helping clear the toxic amyloid protein from the brain
- researching whether increased brain iron levels are the ‘missing link’ in the development of dementia
- examining if the impact of childhood stress is a dementia risk factor
- discovering the potential for eye scans to reveal three biomarkers associated with early signs of cognitive decline
- improving diagnosis of fronto-temporal dementia – one of the most common forms of the disease
- harnessing the power of music to assist people in managing their dementia.
Addressing Australia’s International Dementia Conference 2018 in Sydney, Mr Wyatt also announced a $5.3 million pilot program aimed at improving aged care for people living with dementia.
The Boosting Dementia Research Initiative report is available on the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research website.
Will you take up drinking a small glass of wine each day to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s? Are you able to get enough exercise to speed up your heart rate? Do you have trouble getting enough sleep?
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.