Alzheimer’s disease represents the effects of inflammation on the brain. By now, you are all aware of the fundamental role of our gut bacteria in terms of regulating this process of inflammation in the human body.
Today’s episode of The Empowering Neurologist features my interview with Dr. Molly Fox, a biological anthropologist at UCLA. Her work has connected some important concepts that relate risk of Alzheimer’s disease (using research in various countries), to measurable differences in gut bacteria diversity. It’s a fascinating interview with a very gifted and dedicated scientist.
Today, take a moment to consider these five amazing facts about Alzheimer’s Disease. How many did you know before reading?
- Alzheimer’s is preventable. More than 50% of Alzheimer’s cases can be prevented with specific attention to certain modifiable factors like amount of physical exercise, blood pressure and blood sugar level (according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco). The relationship of the risk for Alzheimer’s to blood sugar, and thus dietary choices, was recently revealed by Dr. Melissa Schilling and published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. I recently interviewed Dr. Schilling on The Empowering Neurologist about this very compelling research.
- Alzheimer’s is treatable and reversible. We are constantly presented with the notion that “while there is no treatment of cure for Alzheimer’s, medical science may one day find a solution.” The truth is that researchers have now reversed the condition! Dale Bredesen, and his colleagues at the Buck Institute, have used a novel approach to actually reverse Alzheimer’s in a small sample of patients. Rather that attempt to develop a single drug, the magic bullet approach to disease, Bredesen’s team leveraged 36 different interventions including reducing blood sugar, increasing physical exercise, lowering homocysteine, optimizing vitamin D and regulating hormones, all of which helped to pave the way for Alzheimer’s patients to regain cognitive function.
Excessive alcohol use can cause fat accumulation in the liver. Ultimately, This accumulation of fat may lead to liver failure that may actually prove fatal.
But it turns out, that there is another form of fat accumulation in the liver that has nothing to do with consumption of alcohol, hence the name non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFDL). NAFDL is considered the most common liver disorder in developed countries, estimated to be present in an incredible 30% of American adults.
NAFDL is often not a benign condition. It is strongly related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. That means that people who have NAFDL are far more likely to develop things like type II diabetes and ultimately may even develop cirrhosis of the liver.
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a Google Hangout discussing dietary recommendations in response to a case presentation of an elderly woman who was beginning to experience decline in cognitive function.
Basically, the case was selected as she was experiencing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), generally thought to be a harbinger of future Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease, far and away the most common form of dementia, now affects some 5.4 million Americans, representing the third leading cause of death in our country. This number is predicted to double in just the next 15 years! Moreover, women are disproportionately at risk, representing 65% of Alzheimer’s cases. In fact, a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease now exceeds her risk of developing breast cancer. The annual cost for caring for Alzheimer’s patients exceeds $200 billion, and this is a disease for which we currently have no meaningful treatment. Continue reading