Story idea: Reduce your risk of dementia: evidence suggests you can

The little things we do today – in our sleep, diet, stress management and exercise – may have a profound effect on whether we remain sharp in our thinking at the end of our lives.

“Protecting your Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease: A Panel Discussion on the Role of Sleep, Stress, Diet and Exercise” is scheduled for 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The event is sold out to the public, but will be available for viewing after Feb. 24 at

The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio organized this session, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association. Reporters are welcome to attend.

Evidence suggests brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s disease may begin up to 20 years before a person is diagnosed with dementia. (Source: “You can’t start thinking about prevention two years before someone is diagnosed,” said Sudha Seshadri, M.D., professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio and founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute. “You really have to be thinking about it decades before.”

It’s never too early to take responsibility for your health, including your brain health, Dr. Seshadri said. To be able to do that, people need to have some idea of what they can do for themselves.

No drugs halt dementia on a permanent basis. Therefore, researchers are seeking to understand risk factors and protective factors that can be modified through healthy living. This approach has worked in lowering risk of heart disease through steps such as quitting smoking and lowering cholesterol. The goal is to do the same with dementia, Dr. Seshadri said.

The panel discussion, part of the Biggs Institute’s “Dialogue on Dementia” series, brings together renowned physicians and scientists for an open discussion of groundbreaking research on the onset and advancement of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases.

The series is offered by the Biggs Institute to connect caregivers, family members and health care professionals to resources and information available today, as the medical community continues to work toward breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research.

The speakers will include Dr. Seshadri; William L. Henrich, M.D., president of UT Health San Antonio; Maria Carillo, Ph.D., chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association; and Gladys Maestre, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Memory Disorders Center at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

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