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
For years we’ve been seeing scientific literature describe the various health risks associated with having elevated levels of (potentially) toxic heavy metals. The reason this information is so important is because it opens the door to a discussion about both prevention and treatment for the associated diseases.
Certainly, one disease that draws interest from both perspectives is Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, while the actual cause, or more appropriately causes, of this dreaded disease remains hidden, there’s been discussion over the years that having higher levels of various heavy metals may be playing a role.
To explore this relationship, a team of Chinese and American researchers reviewed a vast amount of scientific research to determine if there exists any valid relationship between higher blood levels of various heavy metals and the risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Their comprehensive meta-analysis focused on aluminum, mercury, cadmium, and lead.
I find it very fascinating that her research and publication are really quite unrelated, seemingly, to her profession as Professor of Management at New York University Stern School of Business.
That said, as yet another manifestation that Prof. Schilling is truly a renaissance person, her new book, Quirky, explores the characteristics of some of the most incredible innovators who have changed the destiny of the world.
Alzheimer’s disease, now affecting about 5 ½ million Americans, is a disease for which we have no meaningful treatment whatsoever. That said, it certainly makes sense to look at various factors that contribute to the risk for this disease. Continue reading
Despite countless hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to seeking out a meaningful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, as of the time of this writing the pharmaceutical promise of dealing with this epidemic remains unfulfilled.
So, if there is no meaningful treatment, it would seem sensible to focus on how Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia could be prevented in the first place.
We fear Alzheimer’s as we fear no other disease for two reasons. It is the only all one of the nation’s ten most common causes of death for which there has been no effective treatment. And it is not only fatal: it robs its victims of their lives long before they are gone. But Dale E. Bredesen, MD, has turned the tables, showing that Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline can not only be prevented but, in many cases, reversed. Now, in this paradigm-shifting book, he brings hope, and the first good news, to Alzheimer’s patients, with a new understanding of the disease and a new program they can put into effect themselves. Dr. Bredesen reveals that Alzheimer’s is not one condition, as it is currently treated, but several. They are driven by different mechanisms and typically manifest in different ways and at different ages. But all are dramatically influenced by imbalances in thirty-six metabolic factors that can trigger “downsizing” in the brain. He then explains his research-based protocol, which addresses ways to rebalance these mechanisms by adjusting lifestyle factors; including micronutrients, hormone levels. stress, and sleep quality. He explores the critical role of diet in cognitive decline as well as the importance of autophagy, which involves a strict overnight fast. The results have been impressive. Of the first ten patients on the protocol, nine displayed significant improvement within three to six months; since then the protocol has yielded similar results with hundreds more. With wide-ranging patient stories that allow us to understand what it’s like to recover when recovery is deemed impossible, and specific information that will help patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment centers put the protocol into action, this book will fundamentally change how we treat, prevent, and even think about Alzheimer’s disease.
The above quote is found on the inside cover of Dr. Dale Bredesen’s new book, The End of Alzheimer’s – The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.
It’s my great honor and privilege to interview Dr. Bredesen for today’s segment of The Empowering Neurologist. I have known Dr. Bredesen for many years and have followed his work closely. He is clearly a pioneer and trailblazer, but more importantly, he is not afraid to challenge the mainstream medical world’s fixation with developing magic bullets, especially as it relates to dealing with a disease like Alzheimer’s. Rather, he has developed a far more comprehensive program that is proving successful – finally! Continue reading
Where are we in terms of treating Alzheimer’s disease? To answer this question, I turn to one of the most well-respected, peer-reviewed medical journal dealing with clinical neurology.
In a recent editorial in the journal Neurology, Drs. Michal Schnaider Beeri, and Joshua Sonnen stated:
Despite great scientific efforts to find treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD), only 5 medications are marketed, with limited beneficial effects on symptoms, on a limited proportion of patients, without modification of the disease course. The prevalence of AD doubles every 5 years, reaching the alarming rate of 50% in those aged 85 years and older. In the context of the demographic trends of modern society, where the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, identification of new therapeutic targets that may prevent, delay, or cure AD is critically needed.
I so agree. The editorial goes on to describe how the body produces a growth hormone, BDNF, that is associated with reduced risk for cognitive decline and describes how looking at the genetic control for BDNF might enhance cognitive reserve.
The message that we should all dramatically reduce our sugar consumption is really gaining traction and for good reason. This was a central theme of Grain Brain, and these ideas have certainly been validated since I published that book back in 2013.
Unfortunately, as people have learned about the threats of sugar consumption, soft drink manufacturers have decided to emphasize sugar-free beverages, sweetened with artificial sweeteners, as a “healthy” alternative. To be clear, nothing is further from the truth.
In Brain Maker, we looked at the relationship between the health of the gut and that of the brain, particularly as it relates to how the gut is the origin of inflammation, a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, an inflammatory disorder. With that in mind, shouldn’t we be able to improve our gut health as a way to treat Alzheimer’s? Well, the latest science has something to say about that. Continue reading
To those of you who follow my blog, the recent study demonstrating a remarkably increased risk for stroke, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, in relation to consumption of artificially-sweetened beverages should not come as a surprise.
First, let me break down what the researchers did, and learned. The stroke portion of the study evaluated 2,888 adults (age 45+), while the dementia arm focused on 1,484 adults (age 60+). The researchers reviewed food frequency questionnaires for the years 1991 to 2001 and determined how often the participants consumed artificially-sweetened beverages. Continue reading