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
If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that one area of brain health we talk about in relationship to Alzheimer’s, quite frequently, is neurogenesis. Otherwise known as the ability to grow new brain cells, neurogenesis is an incredibly powerful ability we retain as humans, especially as it relates to neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
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.
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