What can be helpful?
“Exercising and trying to stay healthy and in shape may have some positive impact on your brain function. Besides exercising, you can reduce your risk factors for vascular disease by keeping your lipids down, and controlling your weight and blood pressure. Vascular dementia is caused by strokes, big or small, that are a result of clots or bleeds, but they aren’t Alzheimer’s. About 15 percent of all dementia cases are a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
Does working help?
“This is a complex question and I wouldn’t want anyone to have the impression that they should keep working to stave off dementia. Whether to continue working or to retire are complicated issues. Your brain isn’t going to rot if you stop working. There are so many other things people can do to exercise their brains and their bodies.”
I’ve read on the internet that you have a potential problem if you can’t remember seven numbers in a row that someone tells you. Is that true?
“When I think someone is developing significant cognitive impairment, I send them to the neuropsychologist, who may do six hours of testing. The reports I’ll get back will cover gradations of impairment. It’s irresponsible to put one thing on the internet that claims to be definitive.”
If my grandmothers had Alzheimer’s in their 80s, does that mean that I’ll get it?
“NO! There are highly intense genetic makeups that make Alzheimer’s almost inescapable, but that’s a small minority of the cases. Some theories say environmental factors could play a role, but we just don’t know enough.”
Meet Dr. Michael Serby
Dr. Michael Serby is a psychiatrist in New York City, where he is a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency at New York University School of Medicine.
Dr. Serby has maintained a practice of psychopharmacology, geriatric psychiatry and general psychiatry throughout his career. He is a member of several organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, and is a past president of the New York Psychiatric Society. Dr. Serby is board certified in both psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He also is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
A prolific author of scientific articles, Dr. Serby has received a number of teaching awards. He also has been named a Best Doctor for 15 years by New York Magazine.