PREVENTING Alzheimer's and other debilitating illnesses could be as simple as taking off your shoes and going for a walk.
Following last week's story in The Examiner about the North Coast being the dementia capital of Australia, Iluka doctor David Richards said there were steps people could take to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Dr Richards said some ideas were already out there, but 'earthing' provided a new lead.
"Firstly, you need to learn new things. The other thing is you need to socialise," he said.
"But recently I read a book called Earthing and now I'd also recommend people get 'grounded'."
Dr Richards said 'grounding' or 'earthing' could be another missing part of the link with dementia.
"The theory is that since the 1960s when we started wearing rubber-soled shoes, we no longer have direct contact with the Earth," he said.
"The Earth has a negative charge and is full of things called electrons. If you contact the Earth with your bare feet, those electrons slowly infiltrate your body and neutralise free radicals."
Dr Richards said the lack of contact with the Earth could lead to chronic inflammation.
"Just about everything I see in general practice has an element of chronic inflammation and free radical damage," he said.
"So the idea is, the more time you spend with your bare feet in contact with the Earth, the more you'll absorb these electrons that neutralise damage caused by free radicals.
"The theory has even been used to help the Tour de France teams from America."
Dr Richards said the list of diseases earthing could benefit read like the alphabet.
"Asthma, allergies, autism, Alzheimer's, blood pressure, cardiac disease, depression, dementia," he said.
"It goes on - digestive disorders, diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis."
Dr Richards was asked why he was so convinced that earthing worked.
"It just makes so much sense. I've been in medicine long enough now and I'm old enough now to notice the difference in disease rates now, compared to when I was a kid," he said.