Dr. Mitchell Clionsky explains how to avoid dementia in Episode 54

Today I have the privilege of interviewing a prominent neuropsychologist who specializes in working with people who experience cognitive decline.

Dr. Mitchell Clionsky has invested the past 35 years doing more than 25,000 evaluations of people over 60 who are experiencing cognitive decline, dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

It’s an important concern for more than 80% of people over the age of 50. I suspect that is because we all know of someone who was once a vibrant individual who became a shell of their former self because of cognitive decline. We certainly hope that won’t happen to us.

The good news is that with proper attention now, the likelihood of experiencing dementia can be reduced by as much as 50%. Two major studies have confirmed that statistic in recent years.

He cited statistics showing the average person naturally loses 40% of their brain function when approaching age 70. But, that’s to be expected because everything else in our body slows down, too.

There are actually several different types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease is one of them. Yet, Dr. Clionsky explained, we have control over a number of factors that lead to dementia. Medications are a big factor, as is not getting enough sleep every night. He offered some really good advice for improving the quality of sleep we enjoy.

Sleep apnea, which is when you stop breathing in the middle of the night due to obstructions in your airway, is a big problem impacting nearly 50% of people over 50, and Dr. Clionsky said aversion to devices like a C-Pap machine are unwarranted. New advances in technology have created equipment that does not feel as intrusive as the traditional masks and air hoses.

He recalled the story of a patient named Charlie P., who was exhibiting signs of mild dementia. But, after addressing his sleep problem, Charlie’s symptoms were completely reversed.

Dr. Clionsky also addressed some of the 20 other factors that influence dementia and the onset of cognitive impairment.

He wrote a book titled “Dementia Prevention: Using Your Head to Save Your Brain,” which he co-authored with his wife, Emily, who is a medical doctor. Chapter One is titled “Everyone Wants to Feel Better,” and they do. The problem is few people are willing to make changes to their lifestyle or other habits to give themselves a fighting chance to avoid dementia.

On his website at www.braindoc.com, people can download a free dementia prevention checklist to build self-awareness regarding their risk factors. Then, by working with their own doctors, people should be able to develop a roadmap for better mental ability as they get older.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.

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