What Real Men Need to Know about Alzheimer’s disease

Women are the antidote for age-related cognitive decline

Posted Sep 14, 2010

When it comes to your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease (AD), there are simply so many things that we have little, or no, control over. For example, according to epidemiological evidence at least, the following factors place you at risk: inheriting a bad set of AD-related genes, having elevated blood cholesterol, developing diabetes, having a small head circumference, being short, being female, not having arthritis, religious-related abstinence from alcohol, having a large round belly, etc. Since we are not all lucky enough to be born as tall, thin, arthritic, martini-loving females who have large circumference heads, what hope is there for the average guy today?

As is true for so many recent scientific advancements related to understanding and avoiding Alzheimer's disease, the story is a little complicated, but there is hope. A study published in the medical journal Neurology last week discovered that men tend to develop a condition called Mild Cognitive Impairment (now often thought to be the harbinger of AD) at a higher rate than to similarly aged women. Two other factors are worth highlighting: men who had never been married or had less than nine years of education were also at greater risk than the more educated and/or married men. Epidemiological evidence has already indicated that married men tend to live longer and happier lives, now we can add less demented lives to this list as well. Who knew that women were the antidote for age-related male cognitive decline?

There is one warning clarion inside these statistics - too much education can predisposes us to a more rapid cognitive decline once we're diagnosed with AD. Taken together with some of the recent epidemiologically findings, if you're male and have AD in your family tree, I would recommend the following: get some education- but not too much, marry and be happy, eat nothing from a cow, drink alcohol, consume lots of caffeine, smoke one puff of marijuana each day, consume only about half as many calories are you do now and eat dark chocolate whenever possible. Not a bad life!

See also: Marijuana and Coffee are good for the brain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uVXs6CY2ps

© Gary L.Wenk, Ph.D. author of Your Brain on Food (Oxford, 2010); http://faculty.psy.ohio-state.edu/wenk/