TV presenter Fiona Phillips has revealed she is undergoing trials for a new drug following her Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.
The former GMTV anchor and Daily Mirror columnist, 62, said the disease has “ravaged” her family and she had long feared being given the diagnosis.
According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, Phillips was diagnosed more than a year ago and is taking part in a clinic trial which has a new drug that could slow the effects of the disease.
The condition is the most common cause of dementia, which is the name for a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of brain function, according to the NHS website.
Here is a look at things you can do that might help to prevent dementia:
– Stop drinking fizzy drinks
Drinking too much coke or lemonade could increase your chances of developing dementia, research has indicated.
People who consume the highest amounts of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), such as fizzy drinks and chocolate, may have a higher risk of developing dementia than those who eat the lowest amounts, a study by Huiping Li, of Tianjin Medical University in China, published in the Neurology journal, has indicated.
– Say no to UPFs
Lots of our go-to ingredients such as sausages, ketchup and baked beans are highly processed, making them a risk factor if consumed too frequently.
Ms Li, the author of the study, said: “These foods may also contain food additives, or molecules from packaging or produced during heating, all of which have been shown in other studies to have negative effects on thinking and memory skills.
“Our research not only found that ultra-processed foods are associated with an increased risk of dementia, it found replacing them with healthy options may decrease dementia risk.”
– Reduce your treats
Too much chocolate and treats such as biscuits are not good for you, because they are highly processed and sugary.
In fact, according to the study, for every 10% increase in daily intake of ultra-processed foods, people had a 25% higher risk of dementia.
This suggests just having a few extra biscuits or chocolates at work each day can heighten your risk.
– Keep moving
We all know being slumped at a desk, staring at a screen all day, is not great for your health, but it turns out sedentary jobs actually increase your risk of getting dementia.
Dr Sara Imarisio, head of strategic initiatives at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Our brains are incredibly complex, responsible for our memory, as well as what we think, feel and do.
“Keeping our brains healthy as we age can help stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s, which physically attack brain cells, tearing away at the very essence of who we are.
“We know that being physically and socially active can help us feel happier, healthier and more positive in general.
“Lifting weights and running marathons aren’t for everyone, but there are many ways that we can stay physically active in our lives.”
Noting more research published in the Neurology journal, by Huan Song of Sichuan University in China, Imarisio continued: “This self-reported study adds to evidence that finding something you can stick to, that keeps you physically and socially active, is likely to have the greatest benefit to your health, rather than the activity itself.
“The researchers found that even people with a high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, could benefit from keeping physically active.”
– Make an effort to see family and friends
Social interaction is a really important way to keep your brain sharp and reduce your risk of dementia. If you avoid it, you are risking your health.
According to the research, people who were highly engaged in activity patterns, including frequent exercise and daily visits of family and friends, had 35% and 15% lower risk respectively, compared with people who were the least engaged.
– Do the chores
According to the same study, carrying out household chores is associated with a 21% reduced risk of dementia.
Increasing your brain activity a little, even just by washing up or changing your sheets, could help keep your mind active.
– Play an instrument
According to several studies, musicians are 64% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
If you have ever fancied playing the piano, guitar or ukulele, now is the time – it is never too late to learn something new.