More women develop Alzheimer’s than men. This app wants to close that gap – National IG News

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The vast majority of people living with Alzheimer’s disease are women, and in the wake of the shocking condition, some Canadians are hoping to help reduce their chances with an app that helps promote healthy brain habits.

Cathy Keladis, a busy working mom of two young boys who lives in Mississauga, Ontario, recently downloaded a Canadian app called BrainFit, a tool designed to help women and men avoid brain-aging diseases .

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Keladis, 46, said she was “shocked” by the statistics, which suggested that more women are more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“I’ve always thought about being healthy, eating well and exercising, but when I heard that statistic, I thought, I really need to look into this a little bit more and figure out what I’m doing.” What can I do to protect my brain health,” she explained.

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After downloading the app a few months ago, she said she’s been using it every day and has noticed a huge difference in her mental health.

BrainFit was launched in December 2022 and was created by the Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI), a Canadian charity run by dozens of science, business, caregiver and public engagement experts, aimed at improving women’s brain health. Educating the public and providing funds in the area. ,

Lynn Posluns, president and CEO of the WBHI, said that even though women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s, research on the disease has historically focused on men.

“So we wanted to level that research playing field,” Posluns said.

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This app aims to promote brain health by practicing daily and weekly habits, like drinking eight glasses of water a day, learning a new language or even going bowling, that can help reduce your risk of dementia. Maybe, Posluns explained.

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According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, risk factors for dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease, include high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise, depression and low levels of cognitive engagement.

While it’s still not clear why women are at a higher risk of the disease, the Alzheimer’s Society states that some reasons may be changing estrogen levels over the course of a woman’s lifetime and the fact that women live longer on average than men. Lives

“Most people with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease show symptoms in their seventies and eighties, sometimes in their nineties,” Posluns said.

“But what the science is now showing is that by the time symptoms appear, it is likely that the damage has already been done 20 to 25 years ago. So, this really means that diseases like Alzheimer’s are diseases of middle age.” Whose symptoms appear in old age.

BrainFit, which can be downloaded for free on Android or iOS, focuses on creating healthy habits using the six pillars of brain health, which are nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, social activities, sleep, and stress management.

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“And if you establish healthy habits in all six, you have a better chance of delaying and potentially preventing dementia because about 40 percent of dementia cases are avoidable through lifestyle,” Posluns said.

Once downloaded, the app asks the user to rate themselves on a scale of one to five for habits such as sleep, exercise, stress and nutrition. Based on the answers, it suggests habits based on six brain health pillars, but a user can also create their own goals.

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Habits can be as simple as drinking eight glasses of water, reducing sodium intake, and limiting screen time before bed. Other suggestions are more ambitious such as taking tango lessons, learning a new instrument and starting volunteer work.

“The sooner you start engaging in these lifestyle choices, the more protected you are[from brain-aging diseases],” Posluns said.

Since the app’s launch, there have been over 10,000 downloads, with 90 percent of users living in Canada and 10 percent in the United States.

Keladis explained that although she is only 46, her goal in using the app is to “be a healthier mom” to her children.

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She said that Brainfit helps her meet her daily health goals of stress management and nutrition with notification setting option.

“I always thought I was good enough at drinking lots of water. But after I started using this app, the first thing I realized was that I wasn’t hitting the glasses that day like I thought I was So it was eye-opening for me,” Keladis said.

By setting reminders, she said the app “kept her on track” to reach the daily water goal.

“When you have a busy day, it can be easy to forget to drink your water or eat fruits and veggies when you’re eating a quick meal,” she adds.

“So it was a good tool to remind you to do that.”

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