Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Alzheimer's disease is genetic, so since my grandmother had Alzheimer's that means I'm going to get it, right?

A: Genes do play a role in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but for late-onset AD (diagnosis after age 65 - the most common type and likely what your grandmother had) genes do not work in the fatalistic way that we assume when we hear that something is "genetic." In fact it is inaccurate to say that common AD is "genetic." It is more accurate to say that there is a "genetic component" to the disease, meaning that there are some genes (APOE4 is the most widely studied) that increase a person's risk, but genes only account for about 30% of the risk. The rest (about 70% - or the majority of the risk) comes from the environment, and in this case that translates to lifestyle. You don't have the same exact brain that your grandmother had, and there are things you can do to protect your brain from AD.


Q: Will joining a group or getting a brain fitness coach guarantee that I will not develop Alzheimer's disease?

A: Sorry there are no guarantees. It would be good for business if there were. However, we do know that there are certain lifestyle patterns that lower the risk of dementia and promote better vitality now and as we age. All Brain Fitness can help you develop those lifestyle patterns.


Q: There are so many books and internet resources that tell us what we need to do to keep our brains healthy and prevent dementia. Why would I need a brain fitness coach or therapist?

A: Often knowing what we need to do for better health does not automatically lead to behavior change. This has been seen countless times in the areas of weight loss, physical fitness, and health care compliance. Many of us create roadblocks that keep us from doing what we need to do for better health. It could be a lack of motivation, not having access to the right resources or information, or not having the right support. In the areas of weight loss and physical fitness, discussion and support groups (such as Weight Watchers) have been shown to increase success. A brain fitness coach or therapist will provide you with exercises that are tailor fit to your individual cognitive needs and personal goals. Your therapist will also provide you with support and help you explore the things that are limiting your optimal brain performance and keeping you from implementing healthy brain behaviors.


Q: I already play online brain games or do sudoku puzzles. Isn't this enough?

A: Brain games are a great way to stimulate the brain and to keep it it sharp, and for you that may be all you need. But brain fitness is more than just mental stimulation. There are many factors that affect how our brains perform and how they age. Some people already have all of the mental stimulation that they need and the thing that they need to keep their brain healthy is more relaxation or stress reduction. Another person may need to eat a healthier diet. This is why individualized coaching can help more than just getting a subscription to an online brain training program. I provide each of my clients with an individual assessment of their brain health strengths and weaknesses and help them build a program specifically tailored to improving their brain health needs.

Also, it is important to remember that doing one or two brain activities over and over not improve the brain after a certain point. Novelty in brain training is key! Therefore, if you are already good at doing crossword or sudoku puzzles, you will benefit more from trying something new than by doing your 10,001st puzzle.


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