What can a person do to reduce his or her risk of memory loss?

The 2010 National Institutes of Health consensus and state-of-the-science statement revealed preliminary evidence that suggests beneficial associations between physical and leisure activity in reducing the risk of cognitive decline in seniors. Participation in activities at local senior citizen centers, health maintenance groups, clubs and churches will keep the mind active. Healthy lifestyle measures such as good control of blood pressure, blood sugar, and cessation of smoking reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease and memory loss.

Is there any role for vitamins or supplements such as Gingko?

The most consistence evidence is available for omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, with several longitudinal studies showing reduced risk for cognitive decline. Adherence to an island diet rich in fish consumption will help preserve a person’s memory. Gingko biloba was initially found to be beneficial in smaller short term studies. However, a recent large randomized control trial called the Gingko Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study compared Gingko Biloba with placebo in more than 1,500 elderly showing no reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s dementia. There is very little evidence to suggest a protective effect of Vitamin A, B, C or E. At this time vitamin supplementation does not prevent memory loss.

Dr. Ritabelle Fernendes, MD, MPH, FACP a Column by By Teresa Wong, Physical Therapist Serafina Smith at 91 years young. Teresa Wong is a physical therapist, certified Pilates instructor and manager of the Rehab Hospital Of the Pacific Nu‘uanu Clinic. The clinic provides state-of-the-art rehabilitation programs for individuals recovering from injuries and illnesses. Visit online at www.rehabatnuuanu.org; email, twong@rehabhospital.org. is Clinical Associate Professor at the Geriatric Medicine Department of the John A Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i. She is board certified in Geriatric medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Internal Medicine and Home Care. She is a practicing physician at the Kokua Kalihi Valley and Kalihi-Palama Health Center.