Preventing Alzheimer's with Lifestyle Changes

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Preventing Alzheimer’s with Lifestyle Changes

It’s safe to say that Alzheimer’s disease research is in a “state of crisis.” For the past two decades, over 73,000 research articles have been published, yet little clinical progress has been made. The reason a cure may be impossible is because lost cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s disease patients are due to fatally damaged neuronal networks, and dead nerve cells cannot be brought back to life. Consequently, replacement with new brain cells—even if it were technically possible, cannot be done without creating a new personal identity. One may live, but is it really a cure if their personality is lost forever?

Developing drugs that try to clear out the plaques from advanced degenerated brain tissue, therefore, makes about as much sense as bulldozing tombstones from graveyards in an attempt to raise the dead. Even if drug companies figured out how to halt further disease progression, many Alzheimer’s victims might not choose to live without being able to recognize family, friends, or themselves in a mirror.

Thus, prevention of Alzheimer’s seems to be the key. Alzheimer’s disease, like heart attacks or strokes, needs to be prevented by controlling vascular risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol, controlling what’s called “chronic brain hypoperfusion,” the lack of adequate blood flow to the brain over the years before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This means a healthy diet, physical exercise and mental exercise.

In the video, Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease with Lifestyle Changes, you can see a visual of the potential number of Alzheimer’s cases that could be prevented every year in the United States if we could just reduce diabetes rates 10 percent or 25 percent, since diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. And, so is high blood pressure, depression, not exercising your body, smoking, and not exercising your brain. Altogether, a small reduction in all of these risk factors could potentially prevent hundreds of thousands of devastated families.

If modifiable factors such as diet were found conclusively to modulate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease to the degree suggested by this research, then we would all indeed rejoice at the implications.

My mom’s mom died of Alzheimer’s. It is worth preventing at all costs.

Up to half of Alzheimer’s cases may be attributable to just those seven risk factors, and that’s not even including diet, because there were so many dietary factors that they couldn’t fit them into their model. What role does diet play? That’s the subject of my video, Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease with Diet.

So far these are some of the videos I’ve done on dementia prevention and treatment:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


25 responses to “Preventing Alzheimer’s with Lifestyle Changes

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  1. “Even if drug companies figured out how to further disease progression, many Alzheimer’s victims might not choose to live without being able to recognize family, friends, or themselves in a mirror.”

    Was their a word omitted? Should it read “Even if drug companies figured out how to delay or halt further disease progression, many….”?

      1. And a proofreader for the proofreader. It’s “there” not “their” in your sentence “Was their a word omitted?” Thanks for calling attention to the missing word, Michael.

  2. Brain cells lost cannot be replaced. We lose brain cells and brain mass as we age. Does the Vegan diet improve brain cell loss? I think so. Aging is so grim.

      1. Thank you! I did not know that. I did not know that by age 50 I will have a whole new brain. Perhaps Phosphorus and Iron made make brain cells.

  3. Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Dale Bredesen at UCLA? So far the research consists of 10 case studies, so not “scientific,” but 9 of the 10 cases improved! They were able to go back to work and such. It is a protocol of lifestyle interventions and supplements, so even though follow up studies haven’t been done yet, there is no risk in the protocol.

    1. I saw it 2 years ago or so and I wonder why such successful studies were not followed by more? Perhaps there is noi money from foods. Sadly if you visit the UCLA web page, you will see that they are now doing drug trial on Alzheimer.

      In that successful trial using foods and supplements, all patients except one have Alzheimer completely gone with no side effects. The only one that didn’t get better has very advanced Alzheimer.

    2. By the way, that trial used exactly the same supplements I am using now daily. I know that Dr Greger either did approve or recommend a few supplements but I take them anyway because I don’t agree, out of respect :)

      1. I have been told that aluminum that you swallow is not absorbed well. Aluminum injected may be retained longer in the body.

        1. George Reichel: Maybe. Personally, I’d need some hard evidence of that before I believed it. Plus, we are talking orders of magnitude difference. So, even if the stuff you swallow is only absorbed partly, people are consuming so much, it could really add up. Then compare that to the miniscule amounts in a vaccine that we only get a few times in a lifetime…
          .
          That’s just how I Iook at it.

  4. Dr G states that mental exercise is important. The Rotterdam study noted the inverse relationship between dementia and education (even despite cardiovascular disease). It also shows that Alzheimers is not the only type of dementia.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2549358/pdf/bmj00588-0024.pdf

    Perhaps we should all go back to school. MOOCs are great for this. EdX for example offers some free courses on nutrition and health:
    https://www.edx.org/course?search_query=nutrition

  5. “The reason a cure may be impossible is because lost cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s disease patients are due to fatally damaged neuronal networks, and dead nerve cells cannot be brought back to life. Consequently, replacement with new brain cells—even if it were technically possible, cannot be done without creating a new personal identity. “

    Arguments Against Personal Identity: Crash Course Philosophy #20
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17WiQ_tNld4&index=4&list=LLs8PvTPQBwOvMmRdZh4LgqA

    1. lemonhead: It took me a few days before I could watch that video, but I finally got around to it. Awesome! Thank you so much for that link!! That video is art. It takes a complicated subject and explains it beautifully and clearly in a short amount of time. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen other videos by this same person, and I’m blown away each time.

      1. You’re most welcome. I’ve started using YouTube more and more; there’s some surprisingly good (and bad!) stuff on there. I’ve subscribed to the Crash Course channel and am pleased to find that they have lists of the various videos by subject in sequence. I’ve started watching the philosophy series in sequence.

        Other channels of interest: CGP Grey (I highly recommend the one called ‘You are Two’), Vsauce ( I’m late to this one as it has apparently run its course already), LabRoots (some are too technical, but the one on autophagy is excellent), FoundMyFitness, Silicon Valley Health Institute (very uneven, some interesting scientists; some questionable, eh, how shall I say this, ‘health gurus’).

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