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May 16, 2012   Just for Fun

Book Review by Valerie L. Peterson, Executive Director, ElderCounsel, LLC

I am always on the lookout for books that may help not just our members, but their clients, their clients’ loved ones, and their loved ones (as well as my own!). 

My attention was recently drawn to a book titled, “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program – Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life” by Gary Small, M.D. and Gigi Vorgan.  Incidentally, they are a husband and wife team and authors of the New York Times bestseller, “The Memory Bible.”

I’ll admit I approached this book with a great deal of doubt, mainly because of the use of the word “Prevention” in the title.  Alzheimer’s has been part of my family for many years.  My mom and I served as caregivers for an aunt who died from the disease 10 years ago and my grandmother has suffered from dementia of the Alzheimer’s type since 1999.  As a result, I am well aware that there is no cure, and no preventative treatment.  However, I did promise myself I would keep an open mind as I read the book.

I was pleased to learn early on in the book that the authors were clear on this fact:  there is no cure, and there is no “program” that is guaranteed to prevent Alzheimer’s.  The book is also very clear that the program suggested in the book may only delay the onset of the disease as opposed to preventing it.   But who wouldn’t want an additional year, two years or even more before the first symptoms of dementia?

The book is well-footnoted with numerous studies done on what may or may not prevent Alzheimer’s. The authors also do a very good job of explaining research done on and about dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, as well as other types of dementia and how it relates to the plan for healthy brain life they recommend.

As for the plan, the authors present a 7-day “start up” plan consisting of a physical exercise routine, recommend meals and snacks, and a daily memory exercise, as well as guidance on how to follow a permanent plan to promote brain health.   But one of the most impressive parts of the book is how easy it is to read and understand. 

Every premise for the plan is explained, whether it is the mental exercise, physical exercise or recommended food to eat.  Whether or not it “prevents” Alzheimer’s, this program to promote healthy brain life is something from which everyone, regardless of age, can derive benefit.

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