Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a degenerative brain condition that is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. It is caused by an impairment in the brain’s ability to perform its normal functions, but it is not yet fully understood. Although the exact cause is not yet known, scientists believe that Alzheimer’s disease may be linked to changes in the connections between nerve cells, which might be caused by a combination of factors.
Alzheimer’s disease is a severe and progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects more than 5.3 million Americans and millions more worldwide. Its cause is currently unknown, but there are many factors that can raise your risk for the disease, such as aging, family history, and neuroanatomical differences. If you are concerned about your risk, you can take steps to reduce it, including: eating a healthy diet, exercising daily, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Alzheimer’s disease is a specific form of dementia that affects the brain. There are many risk factors that contribute to the development of this debilitating condition, such as genetics, family history, and age. However, there are also many lifestyle factors that can help reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. By making a few small changes in your diet, exercise, and sleep habits, you can significantly improve your chances of living a healthy, independent, and fulfilling life.
How can I prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Are there treatments for people who already have it? Those are two things people want to know, says P. Murali Doraswamy, director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program at Duke University School of Medicine and co-author of the Alzheimer’s Action Plan. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older. It is one of the most feared diseases and one of the most difficult to treat and cure. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Biogen’s first Alzheimer’s drug in nearly two decades, aducanumab, which will be marketed as Aduhelm. The approval of the drug came after years of research and doubts about its effectiveness. The approval is a positive step in the right direction, says Dr. Doriswami. However, it’s important for doctors and patients to temper their expectations, he says, noting that not everyone with Alzheimer’s disease fits the profile and the benefits and effects are not dramatic.
P. Murali Doraswamy, Duke University School of Medicine, is a leading researcher in the field of Alzheimer’s disease.
Photo: Sean Rocco/Healthy Duke Although progressive brain diseases are difficult to manage, Dr. Doraiswamy is optimistic about successes in several areas. Blood tests to detect Alzheimer’s disease in the doctor’s office are in development, and some digital cognitive tools for home use to detect and potentially treat the disease have passed FDA review. Researchers are finding ways to use sophisticated brain scanning techniques to detect proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They also discovered how hearing loss, seemingly unrelated to the disease, is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. I think it’s an encouraging moment, says Dr Doraiswamy. In this interview, he talks about promising tools to detect Alzheimer’s disease, steps you can take to reduce your risk, misconceptions about the disease, and the impact of Covid-19 on the development of dementia. How can we distinguish normal age-related memory problems from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia? If you can’t remember what you forgot, you have a problem. We all forget something from time to time, but it usually comes back after a few hours, or when we are less stressed or busy. Second, it deteriorates with time. Normal age-related memory loss usually does not worsen significantly with time. Cues are also rarely useful in Alzheimer’s disease. When you give others a clue, they either remember the correct answer or give it. And while we all struggle to absorb new information and take the time to understand a smart TV, Alzheimer’s patients find it impossible to operate a new microwave or remote control. What are the most promising developments in Alzheimer’s disease detection and treatment of mild memory impairment? Simple blood tests that seem to have reasonable diagnostic and prognostic value. Instead of undergoing a two-hour series of tests or having a complex brain scan that costs thousands of dollars, a simple blood test can be done in a primary care physician’s office. They are not yet approved by the FDA for routine clinical use, but we are very close and I think within two years we will have tests that can do that. There are also a number of numerical cognitive tests. There are free surveys and self-tests that can be done at home to assess memory, but they require some experience to interpret. One, the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam, includes simple math problems, a questionnaire, and a drawing test. Some other FDA-approved digital cognitive tests require a prescription and are used to assess memory. An FDA-approved test consists of a series of thinking games designed to assess five cognitive domains, including attention, working memory and episodic memory. In the future, they could be combined with digital therapies. So, if you find that your memory, reaction time or concentration are poor, play some cognitive computer game series to strengthen these skills. These digital therapies are already approved to treat conditions like ADHD, and I don’t see why they couldn’t be available to treat mild memory problems in a year or so. What are the advances in brain research? One of the big developments is Alzheimer’s disease in the courts. Using neurons from patients, they were able to create a mini-brain in a petri dish with the plaques and lobes of Alzheimer’s disease. This work was done at Massachusetts General Hospital and is a great success because it allows us to see quickly if the drug is working. They can screen hundreds or thousands of drugs in a few months, compared to the more expensive and time-consuming process using mice. What preventive measures can you take yourself? Diet. People who follow a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet have cleaner brains in terms of Alzheimer’s pathology than people who follow a diet high in saturated fats. A vegetarian diet is associated with a decrease in amyloid pathology in the brain. Reducing vascular risk, controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and weight have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia. Be mentally and socially active. Hearing loss is perhaps one of the largest potentially reversible risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that long-term hearing loss leads to a shrinkage of parts of the brain that are very close to the memory centers. Hearing aids and regular hearing checks are therefore very important. What about sleep? We know that sleep is a period in which the brain strengthens our immunity and archives our memory. We know that sleep is important for removing toxic proteins from the brain. All this is extremely important. So yes, a good night’s sleep is important for a healthy memory. Most treatments and therapies seem to be designed for people in the early stages. What about those in the middle or at the end of the process? There are drugs on the market that treat the symptoms in the middle stages, but we haven’t found anything yet that repairs the brain damage once it has occurred. That is why it is so urgent to develop prevention strategies.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Has Alzheimer’s disease affected your life and in what way? Join the discussion below. How will the pandemic affect Alzheimer’s patients? As a result, patients with Alzheimer’s disease have not received appropriate care in the past 12 to 15 months. During the pandemic, more people died from Alzheimer’s than from any other disease. Some studies show that dementia is more common in covidia survivors. Eventually there may be a new mandate: Covid dementia. The Covid vaccine technology research has really set the field in motion in terms of rapid resource mobilization and regulatory cooperation. I hope this will be extended to other regions like ours. What keeps people from getting tested? Fear. Alzheimer’s disease is the most frightening disease, even more than cancer. People are afraid of losing their independence and identity and giving up everything from driving to managing their accounts. But many patients who have been diagnosed and are in the early stages are still able to drive and use a car. This requires coordinated family planning to understand what can and cannot be done. Others think it’s not worth getting checked out because there’s nothing they can do about it anyway. But if you don’t take the test, you don’t know if it’s Alzheimer’s or something else. I had a patient who thought he had Alzheimer’s, but he turned out to have a severe vitamin deficiency. We corrected this and his cognitive abilities returned to normal. It is also important to test people so that they can make plans, including financial plans. What do you personally do to keep your brain healthy? I’m an academic. What helps me is to do the hard things every day, from morning to night. I play tennis and do sports. I spend a lot of time socializing. I love chess and bridge. A glass of wine from time to time, 2 or 3 days a week. I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t have to worry about the plaque buildup that saturated fats bring. What do you expect to see in 10 years? I think technology and brain research will be closely linked. I think we will have incredible tools to image the brain and see the early stages of pathology from a drop of blood. We could have very sophisticated sensors, based on smartphones and wearable devices, that could predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. I hope that in ten years we will have a vaccine that will prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but that remains to be seen. Email Claire Ensberry at [email protected].
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Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8Alzheimer’s disease can sneak up on you and take a devastating toll on your life. You may not realize you have Alzheimer’s as the symptoms appear slowly and slowly worsen. It’s important to treat any potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s as early as possible, because each day it becomes harder and harder to do things on your own.. Read more about alzheimer’s prevention diet and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s?
With Alzheimer’s disease, the brain begins to degenerate, causing memory loss, language decline, psychiatric symptoms and behavioral changes. The same diseases that cause these symptoms can also cause problems with thinking and language that may not become apparent until much later in the disease. Alzheimer’s disease, also known as the “Alzheimer’s disease,” is a degenerative brain disorder that leads to the gradual loss of memory and cognitive functioning. It is the most common form of dementia, a neurological disorder that is believed to affect 5.5 million Americans. It is a disease that is characterized by the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, and the most common cause is age-related. Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing it in the first place, and some ways to slow down or even halt its progression.
Can you prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
If you’d like to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, you might be interested in some of the below research findings. According to a recent study by the National Institute on Aging, people who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease are three times more likely to develop the disease than people with no such genetic risk. The risk is highest for people who take certain medications, like certain forms of birth control and psychiatric drugs. But does this mean you should stop taking your medicine? Not at all. In fact, you should look into ways to improve your overall health, including protecting yourself from dementia.
What is the number one food that fights dementia?
In a recent study from the UK, researchers examined the link between dementia and two types of food. One type of food was high in calories, and the other was low in calories. Both types of food increased the risk of dementia. The researchers believe that the high calorie food is the cause of dementia in those who eat it. People fight on two fronts when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. They seek to prevent it through the proper diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, and they also seek to treat it once it has taken hold.
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