What can I do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease?

It’s a question Dr Stephanie Rainey-Smith answers in the latest episode of Edith Cowan University’s Body of Knowledge podcast – and the answers might surprise you.


Senior Research Fellow Dr Rainey-Smith, from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences, has spent much of her career researching how lifestyle factors such as sleep, diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


“There are simple things we can all do every day to help keep our brains healthy and hopefully avoid, or at least delay, the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.


“Some of our recent research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can potentially delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by years.”


A Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and olive oil.


Dr Rainey-Smith also explains how simply getting a better night’s sleep, exercising more and staying socially engaged can also help to stave off the deadly disease.


“A cure for Alzheimer’s disease is the ultimate goal for researchers. But in the meantime, helping people make the lifestyle changes to delay the onset of symptoms, even by a couple of years, will make a real difference to their lives,” she said.


More than 340,000 Australians are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease.


Dr Rainey-Smith recently won a WA Tall Poppy Science Award and in 2018 she received a BrightFocus Foundation Fellowship to develop an intervention study examining how improved sleep maintains healthy brain ageing.


You can listen to the full episode of ECU’s Body of Knowledge podcast featuring Dr Rainey-Smith here.


25 November 2019.