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 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
So much has been written over the years extolling the health benefits of green tea. Green tea has been reported to be effective for weight loss, antioxidant effects, reducing risk of cancer, protecting the brain from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, reducing risk of heart attack, and even for helping a person live longer. As it turns out, there is a fair amount of validation supporting many of these health claims. In fact, as it relates to living longer, one very extensive Japanese study involving 40,000+ adults over 11 years, shows that those individuals who drank 5 cups of green tea or more each day saw their risk of death reduced by 23%, for women, and 12%, for men.
As you might expect, I am especially interested in research related to brain health and functionality. As such, I was extremely interested in a recent publication that evaluated one component in green tea that shows high biological activity. The chemical, epigallocatechin-3-galate, better known as EGCG, has been long known as being one of green tea’s components most responsible for its reported health benefits Continue reading
Today’s video takes a look at a subject that’s at the forefront of our discussion on this blog: how lifestyle choices can impact the fate of your brain. Specifically, we’re looking at how the lifestyle choices that can lead to the development of diabetes may also play a role in raising your risk for Alzheimer’s disease (remember, a disease for which there is no cure).
A new study, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, explores changes we see in brain energetics, or the brain’s ability to utilize fuel. Traditionally this is looked at considering glucose, or sugar, as a fuel source. Continue reading
It’s becoming quite common these days to see news releases documenting the failure of yet another experimental drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, one major pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, indicated in February of this year that they were no longer going to pursue efforts to develop a drug to treat this disease, which is now reaching epidemic proportions.
That said, millions of Americans are already taking medication that is FDA approved, to “treat” their Alzheimer’s disease. Since these medications are FDA approved, one would expect that they’ve been extensively tested and proven not only safe, but effective as well. Continue reading
I’ve often been quoted as stating that there is no pharmaceutical approach that has meaningful effectiveness on the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, I have to continue to make this claim. As was recently reported in the journal Neurology:
Despite great scientific efforts to find treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), only 5 medications are marketed, with limited beneficial effects on symptoms, on a limited proportion of patients, without modification of disease course. The prevalence of AD doubles every 5 years reaching an 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. (italics added).
The authors reemphasize what we know: that there is no silver bullet available now, or in the foreseeable future, that will help with this devastating and fatal condition. Continue reading