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Memory loss is not necessarily a sign of pending dementia


As a person ages, there may be a continuous decline in memory, however, age-related memory decline is not necessarily a sign that dementia is in your future.

So many people are worried about their memory. This is especially so as people start to get a little older. People say to me, “I walked into a room and then could not remember why I walked into the room.” This can be very disturbing to many people, but it does not have to mean there is a real problem with their memory.

As one ages, there may be a continuous decline in memory, however, age-related memory decline is not necessarily a sign that dementia or Alzheimer’s is in your future.

As you may have guessed, the manner in which one lives their life can have a huge imprint upon the memory. This can even be seen in people who have a genetic history or predisposition to dementia. In a new study by Dr. Jianping Jia in the Department of Neurology, at the Capital Medical Center in Beijing, China, his research results echo these facts.

The study began in 2009 and concluded in 2019. Average age of the research participants was 72 years. The study analyzed six components to living a healthy lifestyle. Those components were as follows:

  • Physical exercise (weekly frequency and total time)
  • Smoking history (never or stopped smoking)
  • Alcohol consumption (never or stopped drinking)
  • Diet (daily intake of 12 food items; fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy, salt, oil, eggs, cereals, legumes, nuts and tea)
  • Cognitive activity (writing, reading, playing cards, mahjong and other games)
  • Social contacts (participating in meetings, attending parties, visiting friends/relatives, traveling or chatting online)

The participants were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study. Those who practiced 4-6 lifestyle components were in the favorable group. Those with 2-3 of the lifestyle components were average and those with only 1-2 of the lifestyle components were in the unfavorable group.

The results showed that people with the most favorable lifestyle habits had the least decline in their memory.

Looking at all the lifestyles examined, consuming a healthy diet seemed to have the most protective effect on memory. I guess, you are what you eat and what you eat impacts your thought processes and memory. Protect it!

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at