May 2, 2023

Six Ways to Support Cognitive Health for Older Adults

Older Americans Month, May 2023

May is Older Americans Month (OAM) and a great time to focus on the needs of older Americans, especially when it comes to brain health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying healthy, both mentally and physically, supports older adults to remain in their homes and living independently for as long as possible. Optimal cognitive health is an important concern for many older adults, especially for those dealing with the symptoms of dementia.

Dementia Prevention

Many people believe that symptoms of dementia are a natural aspect of the aging process.  However, studies show that about 40% of dementia cases can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes that address the risk factors for dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior, accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases and is not a normal aspect of aging.

Activities that support healthy mental aging include:

  1. Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle by maintaining normal blood pressure and blood sugar, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding drinking and smoking, caring for hearing loss and getting proper sleep.
  2. Maintaining a healthy diet that supports cognitive function.
  3. Cultivating strong social connections and maintaining a sense of community.
  4. Participating in light or moderate exercise.
  5. Avoiding head trauma.
  6. And addressing hearing impairment with the use of hearing aids.

When Symptoms Become Problematic

When dementia symptoms develop, it’s important to know if an individual is exhibiting AD or some other condition that can be curable or managed with different interventions. An early diagnosis of AD can help to alleviate worry for older Americans and get them on the right AD therapeutic journey sooner.

AD is a complex disease and while the presence of amyloid is a hallmark of disease at death, it is not correlated with synaptic loss and neuronal death. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to diagnose AD, with 50% to 70% of symptomatic AD patients not correctly diagnosed in primary care and 25% to 30% misdiagnosed in specialized memory clinics.

SYNAPS Dx (SDx) offers DISCERN™, the first autopsy-validated, highly accurate, and minimally invasive test available to support a clinician’s definitive diagnosis of AD, even in people recently diagnosed with dementia. This helps patients and families determine if symptoms truly are from AD versus other, possibly curable conditions, giving individuals an opportunity to get the right treatment plan sooner—while giving families greater peace of mind.

During OAM, the SDx team hopes that more people will take the time to consider how to improve quality of life for the older people in their lives, including new ways to help them age in place and get the best possible healthcare. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, an important next step is identifying if AD is the cause, or if the symptoms are due to risk factors that addressable through lifestyle or medication changes.  

Read more about AD here and contact SDx for more information on testing for AD. Get involved with celebrating OAM by learning more from the Administration for Community Living here.

* The DISCERN™ test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by NeuroDiagnostics Inc, dba Synaps Dx. It has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. NeuroDiagnostics, Inc. is regulated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as an accredited laboratory to perform high complexity clinical testing. The test is intended for patients with dementia. Test results should be interpreted in conjunction with other laboratory and clinical data available to the clinician. All rights reserved.