Self-help enthusiasts had it partially right

It turns out “do what makes your heart happy” is not just a self-help cliché. Scientists recently identified another reason to take good care of one’s heart: a link between vascular health and Alzheimer’s Disease. A plasma component named Factor XII, usually involved in blood clotting and inflammation, may play a part in Alzheimer’s Disease for some patients. Reducing Factor XII in mice with AD showed less brain inflammation and better memory function than untreated AD mice. It is still unclear how changes in one’s blood might catalyze the disease, but the discovery corroborates previous findings that people with compromised vascular systems are at increased risk for AD. Need some motivation? Here are 28 ways to show your heart love.

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5. Stop priming the proton pump

Which would be worse, your doctor demands you change your eating habits or prescribes a medication that increases your risk of stroke? For those still resisting lifestyle changes in favor of drugs, tune in to this: a popular category of heartburn medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) has been linked to a 21% greater risk of stroke. A study of 245,000 patients who had an endoscopy showed that within 6 years of follow-up, 9,500 patients had their first ischemic stroke. Researchers controlled for other risk factors, investigated their medications and found patients on the highest dose of PPIs had a stroke risk from 30% for lansoprazole to 94% for pantoprazole. Add that to PPIs’ links to dementia and heart attacks and then reconsider fatty foods and large portion sizes.

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