Lifestyle changes may guard against memory loss

  • Amy Shives, left, watches her husband George make mashed potatoes at their house, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. Amy Shives was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2011. AP Photo/Young Kwak

    The latest Alzheimer's research has a clear theme: Change your lifestyle to protect your brain.

    It will take several years for scientists to prove whether some experimental drugs could at least delay Alzheimer's disease, and an aging population is at risk now.

    Whatever happens on the drug front, there are steps generally healthy people can take -- from better sleep to handling stress to hitting the books -- that research suggests might lower the risk of Alzheimer's.

    "We can prevent [Alzheimer's], we can beat it," Dr. Greg Petsko, professor of neuroscience at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, told CBS News. "Genetic factors make someone more likely to develop Alzheimer's, but it might be a mixture. It's really a disease that's not inevitable."

    Making certain lifestyle changes "looks more promising than the drug studies so far," said Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, whose lab researches what makes up healthy aging. The findings on stress prompted Lipton to take up yoga.

    Click through for five tips to guard your brain against memory loss, based on research at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference.