In this section you will find everything pertaining to the subject of brain health and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Whether you are wondering how to prevent Alzheimer’s or improve general brain function, this Alzheimer’s disease and dementia section explores the connection between proper lifestyle choices and brain preservation and development.
Category: Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The number of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has continued to grow at a dramatic rate. Currently, it is estimated that some 5.8 million Americans (of all ages) have Alzheimer’s disease. By and large, this is a disease of elderly individuals, with approximately 5.6 million of those diagnosed age 65 or older. To put that number into context, consider that this means 1 in 10 people age 65 or older suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Further, it is instructive to note that there are some 200,000 individuals here in America under age 65 years who have also been given the diagnosis.
Despite heroic research efforts, Alzheimer’s remains a disease for which there is no cure or meaningful treatment whatsoever. That said, it is critical that we ask ourselves if there is any evidence that the disease could be prevented, or at least explore what could be done to lower one’s risk. Continue reading
It’s relatively straightforward – the best time to do something about fending off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is well before you start to experience warning signs of cognitive decline. As has been well-documented on this blog before, inflammation in your 20s, 30s, 40s…really, at any stage in life, has been associated with increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, a disease for which there is no cure.
It is well-documented that the accumulation of the beta-amyloid protein in the brain is correlated with Alzheimer’s disease. Ongoing research seeks to understand how, and at what stage of Alzheimer’s, beta-amyloid proteins influence the disease. Continue reading
There has certainly been a lot of information appearing in scientific literature as of late indicating that coffee consumption is good for the brain. One recent report has revealed what I believe to be a very specific mechanism that directly relates the consumption of coffee to the well-established reduction in risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Continue reading
The development of highly accurate and widely available genome sequencing technology has put us at a crossroads. Now, more than ever, the divergent views of nature versus nurture confront consumers wishing to be advocates for their own health. As we learn about our genetics it seems quite clear that the deterministic message about our health destiny is ringing loud and clear. More and more, the idea that we are at the mercy of our inheritance seems supported by the advancing understanding and interpretation of our individual genetic profiles.
An important message we have been espousing over the past decade centers on the importance of lifestyle choices, specifically directed to offset disease risk that may well be enhanced by genetics. This ideology centers on the notion of genetic predisposition in contrast to genetic determinism. It is this contrast that opens the door to empowerment and your health destiny.
December of 2019 marks the publication of a new medical textbook, The Microbiome and the Brain (CRC Press). The text features chapters focused on a number of important topics, among them the role of gut bacteria in a variety of medical conditions including autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The common theme throughout the book, as one would surmise from the title, is the relationship between the gut and brain health. The chapters have been written by some of the most well respected researchers and clinicians from around the world, and I am honored to be the editor-in-chief of this important contribution.
One area in which the relationship between the gut and the brain that seems to be getting a lot of attention as of late focuses on how variations in the gut bacteria may ultimately contribute to alterations in mood. Specifically, there is currently a fairly in-depth pursuit to understand the relationship between nuances of bacterial constituents and depression. Continue reading
One of the most important goals of my life is to raise the level of awareness of the importance of lifestyle choices in determining a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease, a disease for which there is no meaningful medical treatment. To be sure, this narrative isn’t something that mainstream medicine fully embraces. But this isn’t necessarily a surprise as the whole notion of disease prevention still remains on the back burner as far as the world of Western medicine is concerned.
But the publications showing the powerful influence of specific lifestyle choices on Alzheimer’s risk are appearing with ever-increasing frequency in the world’s most well respected scientific publications. To that point, The Journal of the American Medical Association just published a powerful report looking at the relationship between genetic predisposition for dementia and the influence of lifestyle choices. This study begins by indicating that there are genetic risks for dementia. It then describes the focus of the research being dedicated to determining how much of the genetic risk may be offset by making specific choices in terms of things like smoking, diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption. Continue reading
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
You know, we’ve explored, several times now, the relationship between vitamin D levels and risks for severe health complications, including dementia. Notably, my colleague Dr. Dale Bredesen has written and researched much on this topic, particularly with regard to the relationship between vitamin D levels and Alzheimer’s risk. In fact, Dr. Bredesen even includes vitamin D supplementation in his protocol for treating Alzheimer’s and dementia. Continue reading
An important part of my lectures over the past several years has been to emphasize how our lifestyle choices, around things like sleep, diet, and exercise, will ultimately impact the destiny of our brains. For example, we have long been discussing how exercising today relates to a healthy brain in the future, especially its association with reduced risk for dementia.
Now, new data is revealing that exercise not only has long-term benefits for brain health, but even more acute changes are being discovered that are clearly positive. Continue reading