It turned out that among the representatives of the two peoples of the Bolivian Amazon, there are unusually few people with dementia. An article about this was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Something to do with a pre-industrial lifestyle seems to protect older Tsimane and Moseten people from dementia,” says Margaret Gatz of the University of South Carolina.
To find out, the scientists used CT scans of the brain and questionnaires adapted to Native American culture. It turned out that among the representatives of the Tsimane people over 60 years old, only five suffer from dementia, and out of 169 members of the Moseten people, only one. By comparison, 11 percent of Americans over 65 suffer from senile dementia, versus just 1 percent in these Native American populations.
Scientists have a hypothesis that the brain of these Indians is protected from aging by an active lifestyle and a diet without an abundance of sugar and fat, since the representatives of the Tsimane and Moseten fish, hunt and farm with traditional tools all their lives. However, it remains unclear why not all traditional peoples show such protection against dementia.
The researchers hope that unlocking this secret will help treat dementia in industrialized nations.