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More Than Just “Food” for Thought

The Spinal Column

By Jim Bourque Starr

A fellow resident of San Miguel posts this Edmund Burke quote on his emails: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

My paraphrase is, “All that is necessary for Alzheimer’s to invade our lives is that good people do nothing.” Research shows us there are lots of things we can do to prevent this debilitating challenge.

“The idea that Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Center on Aging. Alzheimer’s develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep, and mental, physical and social activity. As a chiropractor, I offer 10 strategies to help prevent Alzheimer’s.

1. Have coffee

Coffee is the new brain tonic. University of South Florida researcher Gary Arendash says caffeine reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee’s antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn’t.

2. Floss

The health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.

3. Be a “Googler”

Online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA’s Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of web surfing for an hour a day.

4. Grow new brain cells

Thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise, strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking, and vitamin B deficiency.

5. Apple juice

Apple juice stimulates the “memory chemical” acetylcholine, simulating the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.

6. Chiropractic adjustments

Proper alignment of the spine allows nerve flow without interruption, aiding mental clarity and increased brain activity. Often, just once a month maintenance is all that is necessary.

7. Meditate

Brain scans show people who meditate have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.

8. Take D

A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans’ risk of cognitive impairment 394 percent. Most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommends a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.

9. Fill your brain

“A rich accumulation of experiences—education, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life—all make your brain better able to tolerate challenges.

10. Focus on the flowers, not the weeds

Gratitude elevates you toward more light…ingratitude gravitates and takes you to the grave.

Dr. Jim Bourque Starr is a practicing chiropractor, author and international public speaker. His Wellness Clinic San Miguel in La Lejona and is now accepting new patients. 415 121 2978 or


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