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
While we accept the notion of the important influences of lifestyle choices as they relate, for example, to the heart, the immune system, lung function, longevity, and even cancer risk, the notion that what we choose to eat and the amount of exercise we get, in terms of influencing the brain, until recently, has been kept off the table. Fortunately, there are dedicated researchers around the country who are part of a vanguard team, making it very clear that we are, in fact, the architects of our brain’s future. Our choices, day in and day out, are exceedingly influential in terms of how our brains will change over time, for better or worse.
Certainly, this has been a central theme in the books I have been writing over the years, as well as other elements of my social outreach. But importantly, and gratefully, I am not alone in this endeavor.
Over the past several years a mechanistic concept has arisen that seeks to explain the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. This has been called the bioenergetic theory. Basically, it describes a situation in which the highly energy demanding cells of the brain are somehow compromised in their ability to use fuel. Make no mistake about it, brain cells require an incredible amount of energy to perform their function. In the resting state, the brain, which typically represents only 2 to 5% of total body weight, consumes up to 25% of calories burned.
The brain’s primary fuel is glucose. And one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive failure of the brain’s ability to use this source of fuel, basically a situation in which brain cells are not able to utilize glucose for energy. In fact, specialized PET scanning of the brain can visualize signature areas of the brain that are less functional in terms of glucose utilization that correlate with Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading
There are a number of factors that are clearly associated with risk of dementia, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease-related dementia. For example, there’s a dramatic increase in risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in people who have been diagnosed with type two diabetes. Sedentarity, meaning lack of physical activity, is also associated with increased risk as are early life stress, head trauma, and low educational level.
Research has also demonstrated a relationship of Alzheimer’s risk to childhood socioeconomic status as well as school performance.
But an important missing link in these studies that demonstrate associations is an actual demonstration, not of the cognitive impairment, but of actual physical changes that take place in the brain that may then relate to decline in the brain’s function. Continue reading
In 1998, Dr. Peter Eriksson published a groundbreaking report in the journal Nature Medicine in which he described, for the first time, that the process of growing new brain cells, neurogenesis, occurs in humans. That was only 22 years ago. Prior to his publication it was generally assumed that humans developed brain cells up until our late teen years and it was downhill after that.
We now know that a person retains the ability to grow new brain cells throughout his/her entire lifetime. Importantly, it is now clear that there are various things we can do that will directly enhance this process of neurogenesis. Among the most potent stimuli triggering the growth of new brain cells are physical exercise, a ketogenic diet, whole coffee fruit extract, and there is now some pretty compelling data supporting the role of a particular species of mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (more commonly known as lion’s mane), in causing neurogenesis. Continue reading
By the Dr. Perlmutter Team
When asked what supplements I recommend for optimal health, I occasionally reply, “sleep.” Sleep is powerful on so many levels in terms of health outcomes. We know that sleep duration and quality impact inflammation, what and how much we eat, hormone balance, decision-making, mood states, and much more.
An interesting study on sleep recently appeared in one of the publications of the American Medical Association called JAMA Network Open. The researchers behind the study sought to investigate the association between sleep duration and cognitive decline. They analyzed data from 20,065 total participants in two cohort studies, one in the United Kingdom, The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and one in China, the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). The ELSA sample included people 50 years or older and the CHARLS sample included people 45 years or older. Continue reading
Over the past decade we have been vigorously promoting the concept of Alzheimer’s prevention. Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, not just for the patient, but for families and loved ones as well. And let me be candid: watching my father succumb to Alzheimer’s was the most emotionally challenging experience of my life. Not only that, it also served to strengthen my resolve to do whatever I can to continue to raise awareness of the science that supports the notion that our lifestyle choices do indeed play an important role in determining our risk for this disease – a disease for which there is no meaningful treatment whatsoever. Continue reading
Lately, in an apparent attempt to push back from the negativity surrounding high fructose corn syrup, there seems to be an increase in the number of articles published touting the advantages of fructose as a “safer sugar.” The main point that is so often emphasized is that unlike glucose, fructose does not seem to increase insulin. Increasing insulin, which is how our bodies cope with increased glucose levels, may, when it’s constantly challenged, lead to a state in which we tend to lose our sensitivity to insulin. This means that with time, on a diet that constantly raises our glucose levels, insulin becomes less effective. Losing insulin sensitivity or becoming “insulin resistant” is not only associated with elevated blood sugar and subsequent diabetes, but also a fairly extensive list of chronic degenerative conditions that we want to do our best to avoid like coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s. Continue reading
My team and I are overjoyed to share some exciting news with you. We had such a fantastic response to the groundbreaking series Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention last year that we will be airing the series again from September 9 – 20, 2020!
Make sure to mark your calendars!
Over the years, my message of prevention has challenged many of the beliefs held by the conventional medical system. I’ve done my best to call attention to what our best science is telling us about the causes and risk factors for some of our most feared diseases.
More specifically, I’ve tried to spark mainstream discussions about our everyday lifestyle choices as they relate to our brain’s health destiny.
These conversations on how to prevent disease must continue, especially now that brain disorders and almost all chronic health conditions are exploding in number all throughout the United States.
With this in mind, my team and I wanted to create a new, powerful tool to bring this empowering science to the world. And now, I am overjoyed to invite you to watch our documentary series, Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention.
CLICK HERE to register for the 12-Day FREE event!
A central theme of our outreach messaging over the past decade centers on the role of our everyday lifestyle decisions in influencing the health destiny of our brains. As many of you know, we recently produced a docuseries Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention that reveals how our most well-respected scientific journals are making it very clear that each of us is truly the architect of our cognitive health destiny. We reveal exactly what we need to be doing day to day to meaningfully increase our chances of a life without Alzheimer’s disease.
And to bring everyone right up to date on the science, I’d like to discuss a study just published in the prestigious journal Neurology. Continue reading
It’s exciting to watch new developments in medicine, especially when new treatments for diseases are developed. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that has any merit for Alzheimer’s disease. Think of it, this disease that affects close to 5.8 million Americans is a disease for which we have no meaningful treatment whatsoever.
As many of you know, Dr. Dale Bredesen has pioneered a novel approach to Alzheimer’s disease. Rather than offering up a single treatment, he has created a multi-pronged program that is proving successful in reversing this disease. Yes, I’ll repeat, this program has reversed Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading