Tips to Avoid Dementia with Dr. Antoine Hakim


Join us regularly for up-to-date tips from world-renowned expert and author Dr. Antoine Hakim.

“You are in charge of your brain”

We do not have to acquire dementia as we age. There are lots of good examples of individuals, and even entire societies, where people remain intellectually sharp into very old age. We control a major part of how we age. And that is a good thing, because there is no consistent evidence of benefit from any pharmacologic agent in preventing or slowing cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. The best thing is to avoid the awful condition of dementia before it starts, or slow it down before it progresses too far—and you have the power to do that.


Question 1: My Mom and older sister both developed dementia in their old age. Does this mean that dementia is genetic?


Why is sleep essential?

Sleep is the opportunity for the brain to undergo a daily complete tune-up. It allows the brain the opportunity and time to wash away the exhaust material, the toxins that built up during the day’s mental activities. During sleep, brain repair is turned on, and the production of myelin is revved up – that is the white matter in the brain that facilitates rapid internal communication so essential for normal cognitive functions. So sleep contributes to restoring brain function.


Depression can lead to dementia

Depression seems to accelerate the process of aging. Scientists can look at any cell in our body and measure the length of a region called telomere that appears at the ends of a chromosome. From that, they can determine your biological age: not necessarily your age in years, but the extent of wear and tear in your cells that indicate biological age. When scientists in the Netherlands did that recently, they found that people who were or had been depressed had shorter telomeres, meaning their bodies had aged more rapidly, even when all other factors were considered. So, depression will add to your age years you have not lived.


Does lowering blood pressure to normal decrease dementia risk?

The answer is an unequivocal yes. You have seen that decreasing the incidence of stroke will protect the brain from dementia. Decreasing the elevated systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg will lower the likelihood of stroke by 38%, and If high blood pressure is lowered by 20 mmHg the likelihood of stroke will go down by 60%. So lowering your blood pressure if the systolic value is above 120 mmHg will definitely make your brain more resistant to dementia.


Stay socially connected

Several studies have concluded that individuals who are socially active seem not only to extend their lives in years, but also appear to be protected from cognitive decline as they age. Their memory functions are better, and their brain scans look a lot younger than their chronological age. A 2014 Dutch study showed that feeling lonely was associated with a 64% increase in the risk of developing dementia.


About the Book:

All page content has been generously providedby Dr. Antoine Hakim, author of Save Your Mind: Seven Rules to Avoid Dementia (Barlow Books, 2017). Save Your Mind: Seven Rules to Avoid Dementia is available for purchase on Amazon or through your local bookstore.

This practical and informative book by prominent Ottawa neurologist Dr. Antoine Hakim says that you can avoid dementia and the loss of control that accompanies this brain disease by following the author’s seven specific rules to exercise the brain and body. Readers will learn how to build a cognitive reserve to protect their minds from an injury such as stroke. By following these rules, it’s even possible to reverse some of the early signs of dementia. This book also offers an authoritative and easy-to-understand

explanation of how the brain works, and why it’s important to maintain the 600 kilometers of connections between brain cells in each one of us. Readers will learn about some of the mind-blowing research that shows, for example, how elderly nuns maintained their cognitive abilities even though their brains displayed the physical signs of Alzheimer’s. Save Your Mind is an essential book for anyone at any age who wants to take proactive steps to prevent dementia and the loss of mental control.

 About the Author:

Dr. Hakim is world-renowned for his outstanding research into stroke and championing stroke prevention and treatment in Canada and beyond. Through his work at the uOttawa and his creation of the Canadian Stroke Network, Dr. Hakim has revolutionized the way strokes are being researched and treated in Canada and around the globe. He was among the first researchers to use animal models to mimic human stroke symptoms, which greatly contributed to our understanding of stroke. In 2017, Dr. Hakim was the recipient of the 2017 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science, shared insights on the prevention of dementia and stroke.