Diabetes and Alzheimer’s
Type 2 diabetes (the kind associated with being overweight) increases the Alzheimer’s risk. This is probably because of the inflammation or arterial aging. Also, too much of the hormone insulin in the brain can stimulate beta-amyloid buildup. In fact, Alzheimer’s is sometimes called “type 3 diabetes.”

Disappearing Brain
Your brain actually loses 10 percent of its weight between the ages of 20 and 90. We lose around forty thousand nerves per day, so by age 65 roughly one-tenth of our brain cells are gone. The rate loss is higher in the frontal brain region, which controls problem solving, the ability to think abstractly and the ability to carry out multiple tasks simultaneously.

QUIZ: How healthy are you?

Aluminum and Memory Problems
Those neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer’s contain aluminum (an element that makes up to 14 percent of the earth’s crust). While there’s no evidence suggesting that aluminum causes memory problems, it’s better to try avoiding it. One way to reduce the aluminum you absorb? Use sea salt instead of table salt (which is processed with aluminum to avoid caking). Other things that contain aluminum include nondairy creamers, cans, antacids, antiperspirants and certain cookware.

Caffeine Prevents Memory Loss
About five cups of coffee a day protects against cognitive impairment from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (If you have side effects from migraines, anxiety, abnormal heartbeats or acid reflux, the benefits may not be worth the side effects.) By keeping your alert, caffeine will also help you assimilate knowledge and deposit in your memory bank efficiently, improving the chance you’ll recall it correctly.

Test for Memory Loss
When trying to determine if a family member is having serious memory trouble, ask them what they had for dinner or to describe current events. Or, give them three objects to remember, and five minutes later ask them what they are. If they have trouble with any of those questions, it’s an indication that something’s going wrong with their short-term memory. This is one of the signs of cognitive dysfunction.