GP releases a guide to ‘outwitting Alzheimer’s
The following article appeared in Aged Health online on 1 June 2023
Dr Helena Popovic is an author and medical GP who became an authority on improving brain function when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Popovic has released a book, Can Adventure Prevent Dementia? A guide to outwitting Alzheimer’s, to share the latest scientific research and her personal experience of caring for her father with dementia.
“We play an active role in how our brain develops throughout our life, and it’s never too late — or too early — to boost our brain, avert Alzheimer’s and defy dementia,” Popovic said.
“Brain changes leading to Alzheimer’s begin 30 years before we get any symptoms.”
Popovic said research has shown that subtle changes in the way a person drives can indicate they are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s up to 20 years before they start having memory problems. In her book, Popovic discusses how driving changes and what can be done to mitigate the risk of Alzheimer’s.
She also explores common questions around why people get Alzheimer’s, the risk to immediate family members and the implications of diet.
“We don’t need superfoods; instead we need to understand how sugar and salt interact to become toxic to our brain,” Popovic said.
“And if you think that you’re not eating sugar and salt together, you’ll be surprised to find where it’s hidden in common foods.”
Popovic references a study, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in 2019, that demonstrated how a healthy lifestyle could dramatically reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s even in people who had a higher genetic predisposition.
Another report calculated there would be three million fewer people in the world with Alzheimer’s if seven risk factors were reduced by as little as 10–25%, according to Popovic. The risk factors are smoking, type 2 diabetes, midlife high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, depression and lack of mental stimulation, which Popovic said are all within personal control.
“We might not yet have a cure but we certainly know how to slow down the disease.
“Aging is inevitable — mental decline is not,” Popovic said.