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By Staff | Apr 28, 2011

After 27 years the first diagnostic guidelines in the United States for Alzheimer’s Disease have recently been released.

I have to admit that 27 years ago (I’m silently doing the math in my head; yep, I was an idealistic 21-year-old new mom) I didn’t even know about Alzheimer’s. That’s at least in part what astounds me about this current event news headline. With all the research and the many people being afflicted, 27 years seems like an awfully long time. I was a sad observer a few years ago as a dear friend watched her father’s decline from this horrible, thieving disease. I am grateful that strides are being made (I’m now in the empty nest stage at 48 years of age) and I’m probably also far more likely to be interested and pay attention to them.

Beware if you or someone you know is missing subtle clues like sarcasm. The report stated that ‘waning ability to understand the social, physical and verbal cues that help people recognize indirect language, such as sarcasm and even deceit, may signal dementia. This is why it is often dementia sufferers who are taken advantage of in today’s prevalence of scams.

Alzheimer’s course is: 1) changes in the brain, 2) mild memory problems, and 3) full blown dementia. The report noted that MCI (mild cognitive impairment) is a precursor to Alzheimer’s and can begin ten years before dementia takes its hold.

A while back I heard the phrase, ‘Life long literacy is the Anti-Alzheimer’s’. I noted the slogan and have periodically mulled it over since. After today’s headlines I’m thinking about it a bit more deeply. I enjoy doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles. I don’t beat myself up too badly about not mastering the higher levels, rather I enjoy when I know an answer or can eventually figure one out. I’m speculating that even working through an ‘easy’ puzzle is exercising my mind and hopefully better than nothing. I also, as I’ve often admitted, love reading. I spend part of each day immersed in books, magazines and newspapers. If indeed life long literacy is the key to putting off dementia, then my plan to continue reading and puzzle playing are steps in the prevention or delay of Alzheimer’s Disease. And I’m sure my friends will let me know if I stop picking up on their sarcastic wit or begin speaking to peddler’s of far-off bridges.

I’ll be doing my part. As a matter of fact, by reading this paper you’re already on your way to dementia prevention! So, continue reading and don’t forget to try out the puzzles included in this paper as well. In the meantime, it is my sincere hope that an Alzheimer’s cure will soon be found!