American Health Assistance Foundation Observes Healthy Aging Month

  • Press Release
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Aerobic Exercise and Sleep Deprivation Studies Highlight the Importance of Healthy Habits

CLARKSBURG, MD.-More and more research is showing that what you do today to keep your eyes, brain and body healthy will either lower or raise your risk of getting age-related degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma as you grow older. The American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF) is observing September as Healthy Aging Month and working to raise awareness about the role healthy lifestyle choices make in determining a person's wellbeing in the future.

“Our primary mission is research and education,” said Kathleen Honaker, Executive Director, AHAF. “We are funding exciting work in so many areas including the role of aerobic exercise and sleep deprivation in the development or progression of Alzheimer's disease. It is evident, from the types of studies our researchers are pursuing, that everyday habits will be found to have an effect on a person's health. Ongoing research has shown between a 33% and 50% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease through exercise alone,” said Mrs. Honaker.

Eating healthy foods such as those rich in B vitamins and vitamin C are easy to add to your diet. An apple a day really can help keep the doctor away. There are items in everyone's cupboard and refrigerator that can contribute to good health. Bright yellow mustard gets it's sunny color from turmeric, a spice that two American Health Assistance Foundation researchers, Wolfgang Walter Quitschke, State University of New York at Stony Brook, working in Alzheimer's disease research and Md Nawajes Ali Mandal, University of Oklahoma Health Services Center, a macular degeneration researcher, are both examining for its possible protective role in both Alzheimer's disease and macular degeneration.

“Go ahead, relax with a glass of red wine, it contains resveratrol, a compound found in grapes and red wine, that may help lower levels of amyloid beta proteins that cause the plaques that build up in Alzheimer's disease patients. Although the concentration of resveratrol is light in wine and grapes, a glass of wine has been shown in some studies to be healthful. Everything in moderation, that is what is most important to remember,” says Mrs. Honaker.

As we all know, a cup of coffee is always a memory booster and ongoing research is taking a closer look at the benefits of caffeine for improving memory.

Don't overlook the obvious. Don't smoke, maintain a healthy weight, monitor your blood pressure, protect your eyes and skin from excessive sun exposure and after all that healthy aerobic exercise don't forget to drink lots of water. Dehydration is a common cause of memory problems. And of course everyone feels better after a good night's sleep. “Don't cheat sleep,” says Dr. Jerry Chi-Ping Yin, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, an American Health Assistance Foundation Alzheimer's disease researcher doing research in the area of sleep deprivation and it's affect on Alzheimer's disease. “Follow your grandmother's advice and get a good night's sleep, the body is likely performing important functions while you sleep connected with a person's immune system, brain and metabolism. Shortchanging yourself on any of these fronts is not good,” said Dr. Yin.

To obtain further information about the upcoming November 4, 2009 Mini-health Fair in Gaithersburg, MD or for free publications and information on healthy habits and to find out about cutting edge research being conducted by the American Health Assistance Foundation visit www.ahaf.org or call 800-437-2423.

The American Health Assistance Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related and degenerative diseases by funding research worldwide on glaucoma, macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease. AHAF also provides the public with free information about these diseases, including risk factors, preventative lifestyles, available treatments and coping strategies.