Is It Possible to Prevent Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s – Part 2
Part 1 in this Alzheimer’s series introduced my sweet mother-in-law as an awful but typical example of what happens with Alzheimer’s. I described how Alzheimer’s might be prevented and even treated, showing how the brain works and how that relates to dementia. By the way, I made all that pretty simple so you wouldn’t have to be a doctor or scientist to understand it.
Forward thinking experts in neurodegenerative diseases tell us that it is possible to reduce the risk and potentially avoid Alzheimer’s. In fact they can provide examples of patients who have actually recovered much of their cognitive ability when appropriately treated – treated not with drugs but through interventions in a variety of life factors that contribute to cognitive decline.
Is this hard to do? Risk reduction and potential avoidance are not particularly difficult for a committed individual. But recovery is another story. We can talk about that later. Avoidance is the goal.
So why have Alzheimer’s drug treatments not worked?
The History of Alzheimer’s Treatment
For over 40 years billions and billions of dollars have been spent by government, pharmaceutical companies, and biotechnologists to invent and test drugs for Alzheimer’s. Failures have been rampant. No new drug has been approved since 2003. Available drugs are short term and minimally effective. So when the doctor says there is nothing they can do, they mean we don’t have a medication.
In other words, so far nothing is fixed with medications. In January of 2018 the world’s third largest drug maker, Pfizer, announced it was ending research to discover new medications for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Amyloid Beta Paque
Alzheimer’s research has been largely focused on eliminating amyloid beta plaque in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The theory has always been that it was the plaque that created the disease. According to Dale Bredesen, MD, neurologist and author of The End of Alzheimer’s, the plaque is accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) that is a normal product of the brain to protect against inflammation and toxins. Thing is, the amyloid isn’t supposed to accumulate. The accumulation of plaque is a symptom of the disease, not the cause.
The medications developed over the years have often successfully eliminated the plaque but did not cure the disease. So what is causing the accumulation? According to Dr. Bredesen and other cutting edge researchers, the cause is multi-factorial. That means it is a combination of stuff, all of which require attention.
Consider this like the accumulation of calcium in your water pipes. You can eliminate it but it will come back if you don’t eliminate the source. The accumulation is the symptom.
What Causes Deterioration of the Neurons?
In Part I we saw how the neurons (brain cells) in the seven sections of the brain are in charge of communication throughout the body. In dementia that communications breaks down and eventually stops. So what causes that breakdown?
Amy Berger, author of The Alzheimer’s Antidote, describes the condition succinctly.
“At its heart, AD is a fuel shortage in the brain. It is the result of the widespread starvation and death of neurons secondary to hyperinsulinemia (excessive amounts of insulin in the blood), insulin resistance, and a reduced capacity to metabolize glucose (convert glucose into energy).”
Google both Dr Bredesen and Ms Berger’s books; you will be amazed at the positive reviews. I can recommend both to those who want to study this in great depth.
Take note of Ms Berger’s word, starvation. Perhaps you are wondering how starvation can be possible in a world of bountiful food. In America we tend to think of food as anything we put in our mouth, believing that only calories matter. This is, of course, wrong. Many an overweight and slender person is actually starving.
What matters most in avoiding starvation (whether in the brain or the rest of the body) is the degree to which your diet provides the essential nutrients – 27 vitamins and minerals, 10 amino acids, and 2 fatty acids that your body cannot create for itself. Building on nutritional status is the combination effects of high blood sugar, chronic inflammation, medications, sleep and exercise, chronic stress, and toxins.
Part 3 Nutrition Status
In Part 3 we will dig deep into the first and foremost factor in preventing starvation, nutritional status.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. She is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry), and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.