It’s true there is no cure for dementia, yet studies suggest your life choices today can reduce brain decline in the future. How important is diet to brain health? Food is the foundation of your body. Fats, carbs and protein provide the energy for your cells and metabolism. So the quality and amount of food you eat directly affects your brain. Specifically, researchers are paying special attention to the link a high sugar diet and/ or an unhealthy fat diet may have on your brain. Your brain on sugar According to the Alzheimer’s Association, when too much sugar is in the bloodstream for long periods of time, it can damage the brain cells. Many people with diabetes may develop brain abnormalities, and these changes may increase chances of dementia — research is still being done to understand this connection. Many U.S. adults have prediabetes with blood sugar higher than normal. Insulin resistance often leads to diabetes. Insulin resistance has been linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (heart attack, stroke). Some signs of metabolic syndrome include: Large waist size (40 inches or more for men, 35 inches and up for women) Low HDL (good) cholesterol level Higher than normal blood pressure — 130/85 and above Current research suggests too much sugar in the blood causes inflammation, which can damage brain cells. High carbohydrate foods, such as sweetened beverages, chips, white rice, white potatoes, bagels, cereals and desserts, have been shown to raise blood sugar. Although anyone can get diabetes, Hispanic Americans and African Americans are at greater risk. MIND your diet The Alzheimer’s Association recommends both the Mediterranean diet and DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet. The brain friendly MIND diet is a combination of the two eating plans. MIND stands for the MediterraneanDASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This diet tries to prevent dementia and age-related brain decline. To some, this eating plan is common sense — basically eating plants while limiting meat, saturated fat and sugar in your diet. Foods to eat on a MIND diet include: Fish: omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and some seafood Olive oil: both for cooking and drizzling on salad Vegetables of all kinds: especially green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale (do not overcook) Berries: the more color the better Fiber-rich foods: this includes oatmeal and beans Unsalted nuts There’s no need to change your diet all at once. One or two changes a week is key for long-term success. Keep in mind, frozen vegetables and berries are just as nutritious as fresh, and often more budgetfriendly. Notably, this diet limits alcohol. Although wine is permitted, it is a modest serving of no more than five ounces per day, no matter the size of your glass. Once you make changes to your diet, it is important to stay consistent. Keep active It’s no secret that a brisk walk is good for your heart and lungs. And it’s good for your brain too. Exercising for 30 minutes a day is also recommended to keep the blood flowing to your brain. Make sure you are getting adequate rest and also challenging you brain with a new hobby, learning a new language, reading books, playing an instrument or even completing word or number puzzles. Sleep A structured sleep pattern, while adhering to overnight sleep of around 7-8 hours, has shown to also diminish risk for dementia. Certainly, your lifestyle affects your brain. With this in mind, we recommend you visit your primary care provider to discuss specific concerns such as diabetes, weight, cholesterol or blood pressure, which affect your brain health. — Rolando Ania, MD, is Division Chief of the Renown Institute for Neurosciences.
Earning its third five-year accreditation, Renown’s neuro-diagnostic lab remains Nevada’s only accredited ABRET facility. The Renown Institute for Neurosciences is pleased to announce that the neuro-diagnostic lab at Renown Regional Medical Center has been re-accredited by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET). ABRET’s lab accreditation process evaluates technical standards, the quality of a laboratory’s output, and lab management. “Renown Health is a leader and a destination for health in treating neurological disorders and advancing innovations in neurology. The specialists at the Renown Institute for Neurosciences provide comprehensive brain, nerve and surgical support along with a full range of diagnostic and additional procedures and a disease-specific, patient-focused approach to care,” says Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, FACHE, President and CEO, Renown Health. “This prestigious honor from ABRET means Renown’s Electroencephalogram (EEG) Laboratory has met strict standards and is recognized as a place where patients and physicians can confidently receive quality diagnostics.” “In addition to re-accreditation from ABRET, the Institute for Neurosciences has earned a Gold Seal of Approval by the Joint Commission and offers advanced treatment options including t-PA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) and biplane angiography. The Level III accredited Epilepsy laboratory implements some of the newest treatments available,” said Renown’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Sierzenski, MD, MSHQS, CPE, FACEP. “Renown patients also have access to the most promising new therapies through national clinical trials, which have been shown to significantly improve patients’ health and well-being.” “I am proud to recognize our dedicated team of caregivers for their continued passion and excellence in maintaining the highest standards in patient care,” said Renown Institute for Neurosciences’ Division Chief, Dr. Rolando Ania. “It is all thanks to their tremendous efforts that we remain the only ABRET accredited laboratory, as well as the only nationally accredited epilepsy center (NAEC Level III), in the state of Nevada.” Using a collaborative approach, specialists at the Renown Institute for Neurosciences use leading-edge diagnostic tools to identify neurological conditions and treat patients with the most effective techniques available. What is a Neuro-diagnostic Lab? A neuro-diagnostic lab allows care teams the technology to evaluate how a patient’s peripheral, autonomic, and central nervous systems function, and aid in diagnosing and treating conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and other diseases of the nervous system. What is an Electroencephalogram (EEG)? An Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. During the test, special sensors called electrodes are attached to the patient’s head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer then records the brain’s electrical activity on the screen. Using a collaborative approach, specialists at the Renown Institute for Neurosciences use leading-edge diagnostic tools to identify neurological conditions and treat patients with the most effective techniques available. Renown Health hospitals are ranked as Nevada’s top hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.