Book Review: The Alzheimer’s Prevention Plan

Author: Patrick Holford (with Shane Heaton and Deborah Colson)
Publisher: Piatkus
Book Publication: 2011

Alzheimer’s disease, along with its devastating impact, has received quite a bit of attention recently. Dementia experts from around the world gathered in Toronto this past March to focus on the most effective ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. The recent federal election touched on it, with one of Michael Ignatieff’s campaign ads mentioning his own struggle with his mother’s Alzheimer’s. And this past season, Grey’s Anatomy, the very popular medical drama, had a story arc involving a research study for treatment of the disease.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada reports that by 2038, the number of people with dementia will double. There is currently no cure for this horrible disease, but the situation, although grim, is not hopeless. There are some things we can do, and Patrick Holford, a nutrition expert specializing in mental health, provides some very reassuring and sensible advice on this topic in his updated and expanded book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Plan (10 Proven Ways to Stop Memory Decline and Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s).

In the book, Holford makes the argument that “whatever your age, you can make an immediate difference to mind, memory and mood by improving your diet, taking the right supplements and making a few simple lifestyle changes.” His plan, he says, “can carry you through the last third of your life with body and mind in brilliant shape.”

Here are just a few items from Holford’s 10-point plan: take a high-strength multivitamin with vitamin E, C, and at least 20 mg of vitamin B6, 10 mcg of B12, and 250 mcg of folic acid; test your homocysteine level, as an elevated level of this amino acid in the blood increases risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s-related dementia; ensure you get enough brain fats by eating fish and seeds high in essential omega-3 fats; try to lower your stress and cortisol levels; use your brain by continuing to learn new things; and finally, keep physically active.

The Alzheimer’s Prevention Plan also features checklists or tests to determine whether you are getting enough essential brain foods, showing signs of deteriorating memory and difficulty learning new things, or at risk for Alzheimer’s.

In the appendices, the reader will find encouraging success stories, as well as some valuable information on the latest drug and hormone treatments available.

Despite the sometimes overwhelming number of scientific names and terminology, Holford’s message comes through loud and clear – ageing may be inevitable, but memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease is not. If you have concerns for yourself or a family member, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Plan may help calm some of the fears regarding this disease, while offering practical and effective tips on how you can prevent, reduce, or delay its onset.

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