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Poor Vision Hastens The Devastating Effect of Alzheimer's

Just like drinking the wrong kind of water, poor near-range vision could hasten the onset of Alzheimer's as patients age, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

The seven-year study of some 2,100 Hispanics began with vision testing. While 7 percent of patients had problems with near- and distance-vision, almost twice that number had difficulties with the former. And, not so surprisingly, patients who had short-range vision problems generally showed a quicker rate of decline over the length of the study as compared to other participants.

Although it's uncertain whether treating those vision problems would've made a difference, researchers speculate those difficulties probably limited a patient's activities, including such good-for-your-brain activities as working on crossword puzzles, reading and learning new skills, and contributed to their decline. Less visual stimulation to the brain may also affect how nerve cells work, according to researchers.

One interesting factoid: Mental decline wasn't associated with distance vision or hearing problems, which prompted scientists to recommend routine eye exams, particularly for seniors, which makes perfect sense.

Folks, please understand that it's not at all "normal" to become forgetful or less mentally sharp as you age. While this is certainly common, it is related far more to the foolish health choices most people make than the natural aging process. Here's a short list of things you can do to protect your mind and health:

Yahoo News May 12, 2005

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