Families, scientists encouraged by promising results in dementia studies

by Jackie Labrecque, KATU News

New research shows that lowering a person's blood pressure has led to a reduction in mild cognitive impairment.

Scientists are encouraged after a promising study has shown that the lowering of blood pressure has had a positive impact on people's memories. For families with those who fight Alzheimer's, this study offers a glimmer of hope about the devastating disease.

Sometimes Emily Baumann begins her Vinyasa flow at home. He knows that the tests are growing for what she has always believed as a yoga instructor: a strong body means a strong mind.

"When we are making these conscious choices, starting with our body and our physical health, it is really a direct correlation with the way our mind is," says Baumann.

Emily and her father, Walter, share a lot of "ohms".

"(It's fantastic) right now, he's very active, he's always around," says his father's Baumann who fought Alzheimer's for about 10 years. "It's a bit of a bit of dancing and doing these bends on the chair – so that makes us happy."

New research shows that lowering a person's blood pressure has led to a reduction in mild cognitive impairment. Since anyone with dementia experiences mild cognitive impairment, it opens up the window of possibilities that this could possibly – eventually – prevent it from developing in the first place. But it's a big if, and scientists need more data.

The Alzheimer's Association is funding "Sprint Mind 2", the second phase of the process that will follow the same people for another two years and will add more people to the study.

"I have so much hope from this … it makes me feel inspired in the sense that the work of my life is teaching yoga and fitness, and we can really change it," says Baumann.

Emily knows her father is too late for this study, so she's concentrating on her father's strengths.

"One thing I learned is how much you can really communicate with their heart," says Baumann.

Whether they dance or share "ohms", they always share special moments together.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death, with 5.7 million Americans living with it. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia.

The Alzheimer's Association tool, "10 ways to love your brain", can help you maintain high blood pressure and explore other healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

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