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Alzheimer’s Association Presents ‘Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body’

Llano Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Briley Mitchell recently recommitted himself to a healthy lifestyle, losing 115 pounds in the process. Mitchell, who is also a professional photographer, looks for ways to stay active, including shooting the high-action Llano Open/Pro Rodeo last weekend. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

LLANO — When Briley Mitchell found out the Alzheimer’s Association needed a facility in which to share the latest research tips on keeping the dreaded disease at bay, the Llano Chamber of Commerce executive director couldn’t wait to host the seminar.

Or attend.

The Alzheimer’s Association presents “Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body” from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at the chamber, 100 Train Station Drive.

The seminar includes information about how cognitive activities, exercise, nutrition, and social engagement can help lessen the effects of the disease.

“One of the things it talks about is modified risk factors,” Mitchell said. “Half (of the risk factors) can be preventable by exercise, healthy eating, and weight control. Half can be prevented. That was astonishing to me.”

When he read about Alzheimer's possible connection to type 2 diabetes, the message really hit home.

Mitchell’s father, Bill Mitchell, was diagnosed with diabetes in 1978. Ten years ago, Briley learned he had the disease.

Researchers at Albany University in New York discovered that Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes share a common protein.

At the time of his diagnosis, Mitchell weighed 288 pounds. His longtime doctor told him the harsh truth.

“Lose the weight or you’re going to die,” Mitchell recalled hearing. “He saw me blow up in the last five or six years. I took that to heart.”

He began working out again, including lifting weights, something he had stopped doing.

Mitchell got serious about his workouts in October and has lost 115 pounds so far, dropping his waist size from a 42 to a 32.

In addition to lifting weights, Mitchell spends 35 minutes a day, six days a week on the treadmill and more than an hour a day on a kayak on the Llano River. He looks for ways to stay active by walking to his appointments if he can.

Diet and exercise are two topics Alzheimer’s Association representatives will discuss during the June 14 presentation. Other topics of discussion will be keeping the mind active and the benefits and importance of social engagement.

The program will cover some of the latest information regarding Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone is welcome, even if they don’t have Alzheimer’s. Many people know someone who does and can pass this information along. It’s also an opportunity for caregivers to get the latest news as well as connect with other caregivers.

June is also Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Go to alz.org for more information on Alzheimer’s. Call the chamber at (325) 247-5354 for more information on the June 14 event.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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