Preventing disease

December 29, 2009

Every day there’s a new piece of research out that indicates causal factors for one disease or another.

I’ve learned to take them with a grain of salt. Or two.

I particularly love the studies on Alzheimer’s or dementia. They usually posit things like:

You can stave off dementia by keeping your brain active. Like doing crossword puzzles. 

My father, who had dementia for at least a dozen or more years, was a physician who exercised his brain every single day. His hobby wasn’t crosswords, though.

It was immunology.  

I guess that just didn’t exercise his brain enough.

Physically active people have less dementia. My father worked out at the downtown Rochester YMCA for two hours every single day. He began running in his 40s and routinely ran 10 miles each day til his hips gave out in his 60s. But he still continued to work out into his late 70s.

Ain’t nothin’ healthier than a runner.

Dementia ran faster.

The brain is a complex system. So is the human body. We’d love easy answers. Definitive preventive measures.

There aren’t any.

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