By anyone’s definition, we must now consider Alzheimer’s disease to be an epidemic. Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative neurological condition that actually has its origins decades before the initial symptoms of cognitive decline begin to appear. Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms of the disease emerge—memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral shifts—there is very little that can be done as, according to our most well-respected medical journals, there is currently no meaningful pharmaceutical treatment for this condition. Despite this reality, pharmaceutical companies continue to market “Alzheimer’s drugs” to the tune of some $3-4 billion annually. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, M.D.
Depression is a global epidemic, a leading cause of disability that affects over 300 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, rates of diagnosed depression are continuing to rise in the United States, especially in our youth. When these disheartening statistics are combined with the relatively poor efficacy of our antidepressant medications, it becomes increasingly important to ask whether there may be non-pharmaceutical methods of treating this crippling condition. In recent years, scientific research has increasingly answered “yes.” Continue reading
I recently had the unique opportunity to serve as an advisor for the development of the next XPRIZE. Many of you may have heard of the XPRIZE for space, and this new prize is, to a degree, similar. The new XPRIZE is being developed to help spur research in the field of longevity. As such, unlike the space prize, in which a finite goal could be easily established, developing a goal that would serve as a surrogate for longevity is more of a challenge. Nonetheless, it is a work in progress.
Well, this title offers a compelling question doesn’t it? From the outset, it’s important that I make it very clear that the science for today’s update is an animal study. That said, let’s explore.
Researchers in Israel recently published a study in which they endeavored to determine if cells in the nervous systems of nematodes (worms) were able to communicate with the animal’s germ cells, the cells that are involved with transmitting genetic information to future generations. Previous research demonstrated that specific molecules called “small RNAs”, which are produced in nematodes, are able to affect future generations by communicating and influencing the genetic material in germ cells. This leads to genetic changes that persist in future generations. Continue reading
It’s an all-too-common scenario. Too many restless nights resulting in a visit to the doctor where you confess that you’re “not sleeping well.” In many cases, this results in your doctor writing a prescription for a sleep drug.
However, the problem is that the depth and restorative nature of the sleep you get on sleep drugs is not on par with good, natural sleep. Specifically, the deeper stages of sleep are interrupted by these drugs which can have profound effects on brain function.
So what can you do to improve sleep? Continue reading
How does simply moving around affect the brain? For the past several years I’ve been doing my best to get out the information that shows how aerobic exercise benefits the brain by increasing the growth of new brain cells, as well as reducing the risk for brain degeneration. However, it looks like most adults are not achieving the 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity/week recommended by the 2018 US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines. In fact, this level of physical activity is only achieved by 57% of adults aged 40-49, and a paltry 26% of those aged 60-69.
That said, researchers recently set about exploring whether simply moving around would have a beneficial impact on brain health. They designed a study of 2,354 participants (with an average age of 53) that ran for three years. The subjects wore an accelerometer that basically determined both the number of steps they took each day as well as the intensity level of their activity. Continue reading
Understanding the relationship between less healthful dietary and lifestyle choices and developing type-2 diabetes, a recent study linking the brain’s center for impulsive behavior and diabetes risk was really interesting.
The research was performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital and involved 232 non-diabetic subjects. These individuals underwent brain-imaging studies that measured the metabolic activity of their amygdalas, an area of the brain that is involved with fear, stress, and impulsivity.
Anxiety has become exceedingly widespread in adult Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18% of American adults – 40 million people – suffer from anxiety at any given moment while nearly a third of us will experience symptoms of anxiety disorder at some point in our lifetimes. Incredibly, the average age of onset is 11 years. Women are 60% more likely to experience anxiety disorder during the course of their lifetime in comparison to men.
These numbers are impressive and clearly support our understanding as to why people are seeking out approaches, aside from pharmaceuticals, that can be helpful. Continue reading