Much has been written about Alzheimer’s disease and it’s growing numbers. We are looking at some rather staggering realities as our population ages. By 2050 it has been estimated that 60% of our population will be affected by this disease. The big question is what can be done to slow down these numbers and possibly find a cure to this degenerative disease.
What we do know is:
– Alzheimer’s may actually start in our 30-40’s.
– Real symptoms may not appear until the 60- 70’s.
– It is identified by the presence of beta amyloid plaquing in the neurons of the brain which are toxic to the nerve cells. These disruptions cause nerve cells to stop working, lose connections with other nerve cells, and finally die. The destruction and death of nerve cells cause memory failure, personality changes, and problems carrying out normal daily activities. As neurons die throughout the brain, affected regions begin to shrink in a process called brain atrophy.
– Additionally, tau proteins also seem to be implicated – neurofibrillary tangles that are made of misfolded proteins, which occur in regions of the brain that are important for memory function.
– The development and presence of these proteins may have a genetic basis. Possibly, a gene is turned on that directly influences its formation. New research indicates that a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors may be the trigger that turns on these genes.
– The hormone melatonin may be effective against amyloid if its used before the formation of the amyloid occurs.
– High levels of cholesterol in the brain may also be an early risk factor.
– Chelation therapy, which involves removal of heavy metals from the body, has also been shown to be beneficial in lowering amyloid plaque levels.
– The latest research indicates that Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia is an inflammatory condition and that reducing the factors that enhance inflammation may be the key to unlocking the mystery to possibly preventing the onset of the is degenerative condition.
– New research indicates that eye scans ( retinal and ocular lens imaging) may reveal amyloid plaque
– The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to increase as a result of many conditions that damage the heart or blood vessels ( high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol).
– Regular exercise ( aerobic, strength training, yoga, ) has been shown to lower the risk and even help to control the symptoms even after onset. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood flow and oxygen. Varying the type of exercise and challenging the brain may also help by stimulating new neural pathways.
– Heathy nutrition may have its greatest impact on brain health through its effect on heart health. Eating a clean and true organic diet that features healthy vegetables, grass fed meats, organic and free range chicken/eggs, omega 3’s from wild fish sources, healthy fats ( avocado, dairy, coconut oils, raw nuts and seeds) and eliminating refined sugars, alcohol, processed foods.
– Alzheimer’s has been termed Type 3 diabetes due to the possible blood sugar connections. Therefore, controlling blood sugar levels might be a real crucial preventable action.
– Maintaining strong social connections and intellectual pursuits seems to be a key to preventing the onset of the disease. Stimulating conversation, reading, writing, art work, drawing and starting new projects or finding news hobbies all seem to stimulate parts of the brain that help to maintain neural integrity.