The leading causes of death and disability worldwide are chronic degenerative conditions. These familiar diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes are increasing globally, at a dramatic rate, in every region, and in all socioeconomic classes. To be clear, chronic degenerative conditions exceed deaths caused by famine, war, and even infectious diseases. Importantly, this was not always the case.
What has changed? Certainly, it hasn’t been our genetics. Our DNA has changed very little in the past hundred thousand years. And yet, we are suddenly experiencing a virtual explosion in the prevalence of these conditions.
To understand why do these conditions are now so widespread, we have to ask if there’s any shared mechanism that underlies chronic degenerative diseases as a group. Indeed there is. In a word, it’s inflammation. All of these conditions represent a consequence of increased levels of inflammation within the body, and higher levels of inflammation can damage heart arteries, the brain, the joints, and even disrupt the function of the immune system allowing cancer to manifest.
So, if inflammation is at the root of what our now the most pervasive diseases on our planet, it really makes sense to explore how our modern world is amping up inflammation as this should clearly provide us some action points to live a healthier and longer life. 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
Understanding the relationship between less healthful dietary and lifestyle choices and developing type-2 diabetes, a recent study linking the brain’s center for impulsive behavior and diabetes risk was really interesting.
The research was performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital and involved 232 non-diabetic subjects. These individuals underwent brain-imaging studies that measured the metabolic activity of their amygdalas, an area of the brain that is involved with fear, stress, and impulsivity.
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