J. Wesson Ashford, M.D., Ph.D. (November, 2006)

  1. Take your blood pressure regularly; be sure that the systolic pressure is always less than 130.

  2. Watch your cholesterol; if your cholesterol is elevated (above 200), talk to your clinician about appropriate treatment. Consider “statin” medications and be sure your cholesterol is fully controlled. Increase your dietary intake of omega-3-fatty acids (eat deep-sea finned fish at least 3 times per week) and nuts (especially almonds).

  3. Exercise your body, mind, and spirit regularly. Physical exercise best 10-30 mins after each meal for 10-30 minutes, 3 times per day. Do aerobic and strengthening exercises. Maximize your education. If you have spare time, do mental puzzles (like crossword puzzles). Stay active with your friends and in your community.

  4. Physically protect your brain. Wear your car seat-belt. Wear a helmet when you are riding a bicycle or participating in any activity where you might hit your head. Work to decrease your fall risk through physical exercise, making your environment safe.

  5. Keep your BMI (Body Mass Index) in the optimal range (19-25):
    -------- BMI = 703 * weight (pounds) / height (inches) squared --------
    To optimize your BMI, control your food intake and exercise. Decrease your risk of type II diabetes. Monitor your fasting blood sugar yearly. If you have diabetes, make sure that your blood sugar is optimally controlled.

  6. Consult your clinician about your joint and muscle pains (treat arthritis with ibuprofen, sulindac, or indomethacin).

  7. Take your vitamins daily (folate - 400mcg, B12 - 25mcg, C - 250 mg, and E - 200iu's). Check with your clinician yearly to be sure your homocysteine levels are not high and you have no signs of or risk factors for B12 deficiency (ask your doctor to make sure your B12 level is above 400. If diet doesn't help, take oral supplement. If oral supplement doesn't work, get monthly B12 shots additionally. Maximize your vegetables.

  1. 8. Keep your hormones stable. Check with you clinician about your thyroid hormone. Discuss sex-hormone replacement therapy with your clinician (such therapy is not currently recommended for Alzheimer prevention, but may help memory and mood).

  2. If you have difficulty getting to sleep, consider trying 3 - 6 milligrams of melatonin at bedtime. If you snore, consult your clinician about sleep apnea.

  3. Monitor your memory regularly; have your memory screened yearly. Be sure the people around you are not concerned about your memory. If you think that you have significant difficulty with your memory, talk to your clinician about further evaluation. Consider therapy with cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine.


    See your clinician at ages 30, 40, 50, 55, 60, and 65. Get a check on blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, B12, and your BMI. Review your health habits, diet, sleep, and family history of diseases including dementia.
    Beginning at age 65, see your clinician annually and have each of these areas checked.


    for discussion, see: Willet WC, Stampfer MJ, What vitamins should I be taking, Doctor, NEJM, 345, 1819 (2001)

    Take at the morning meals:
    Vitamin E 200 iu's
    Vitamin C 250 mg
    Multi-vitamin (with folate 400 mcg and no iron)
    Keep your B12 level above 400.

    If approved by your clinician: 1 enteric coated baby aspirin each day.


    Fruits - citrus, blue berries
    Vegetables - green, leafy
    Fish - deep sea, finned, oily, at least 3x/week
    Nuts - especially almonds, chocolate

    Animal products - Red meat (more than once per week), Dairy.