Professor Kaarin Anstey
When I studied undergraduate psychology, we were told that you were born with a set number of brain cells. And then all the binge drinking at uni, and all the things that you did, meant you lost more and more brain cells, and that the brain couldn’t renew itself, and there was no capacity for change. What’s happened, there’s been a revolution in neuroscience, in our understanding, and we now believe that the brain is plastic, and it does continue to change, and it can benefit from these lifestyle changes, and through things like being mentally active, and cognitively engaged, and through further study. So, you can fix your health risk factors, and you can also build what we call cognitive reserve, through cognitive stimulation. And this is what we think is the real positive story around the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia.
当我学习本科心理学时，我们被告知，你带着一定数量的脑细胞出生。 然后，你做的例如上大学时疯狂饮酒所有的事情，意味着你失去了越来越多的脑细胞，我们过去认为大脑不能自我更新，没有能力改变。 现在发生了什么？神经科学发生了革命，我们现在相信大脑是有可塑性的，它确实继续在改变，它可以通过这些生活方式的变化，通过心理活跃和认知参与，并通过进一步研究之类的事情受益。 所以你可以修复你的健康风险因素，你也可以通过认知刺激来建立我们所说的认知储备。 并且这是我们认为是围绕预防认知衰退和认知症的真实有积极意义的故事。
I think if you go back to what we know about neuropathology that underpins the dementias, the two most common causes are the Alzheimer's pathology and vascular pathologies. Both of those accumulate slowly, through middle age, with things like high blood pressure and lifestyle risk factors. The idea is that through risk factor modification, we’re slowing down the laying down of that neuropathology. That’s why we think that these modifications, the earlier you start them, the greater the benefit will be. There is going to be some inevitable brain ageing, and then there are going to be some risk factors that you can’t help happening to you, like a head injury, for example. It’s our understanding of this development, over a long period of time, that leads us to think that we can delay the onset of cognitive decline and dementia. In fact, we’re seeing that in some of the epidemiological studies now, where we’ve compared cohorts of the same age but born in different years, and we’re actually seeing that their trajectories of cognitive decline are different, and the more recent cohorts are spending more of their life in what we call cognitive health, before they start to decline and develop dementia.
With population ageing globally, we’re going to have enormous numbers of people with dementia; we already do have a huge number of people with dementia now, and it’s just going to increase over the next 30 or 40 years, and we don’t have a cure. Really, the only approach that we have at the moment is risk reduction. Hopefully, in the meantime, people will develop treatments and cures for Alzheimer's disease and dementia, but until then, risk reduction is the best method that we have to address the projected prevalence and incidence of dementia with population ageing.
随着全球人口老龄化，我们将有数量惊人的认知症患者; 现在我们已经有大量的认知症患者，它只会在未来30或40年不断增加，并且我们没有治愈方法。的确，我们目前唯一的方法是减少风险。 希望在此期间，人们将开发针对阿尔茨海默氏病和认知症的治疗方法和药物，但在此之前，降低风险是我们必须解决认知症与人口老龄化的预计流行率和发病率的最佳方法。