Alzheimer's and Dementia Bullets
by Jon Barron
Well, it looks
like Alzheimer's is set to become our next big medical terror. In
the early 1900's it was infectious diseases. From 1950 to around
1975, it was heart disease; and then from the mid 70's to pretty
much now, it's been cancer. But rising rapidly in our consciousness
as it makes regular appearances on popular TV shows from Boston
Legal to Grey's Anatomy, Alzheimer's looks ready to take its place
as our new collective nightmare. So what is Alzheimer's? What do we
know about it? What can we do about it?
Before we begin, though, let's
separate dementia and Alzheimer's. They are not the same thing.
Dementia simply refers to a progressive decline in cognitive
function beyond what might be expected from normal aging.
Alzheimer's is only one possible cause. Strokes, for example, may
damage parts of the brain thus leading to dementia. Then again,
common prescription drugs such as sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs,
antidepressants, allergy drugs, and even cold remedies can cause
dementia as a side effect. How prevalent is this particular problem?
Mike Adams of NewsTarget.com, it represents the vast majority of
people diagnosed with Alzheimer's. More traditional authorities, of
course, say side effects from prescription drugs are responsible for
only a minority of such dementia cases, but even according to these
conservative sources, such side effects may still represent
15-30% of all dementia diagnoses.
In any event, it still leaves
millions of people worldwide afflicted with true Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's, the statistics
4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. The number
of Americans with Alzheimer's has more than doubled since 1980.
Worldwide, it is estimated that there are currently 18
million people with Alzheimer's disease. This figure is
projected to nearly double by 2025 to 34 million people and
reach 52 million by 2050.
- The cost of
Alzheimer's, in the United States alone, was estimated to be
$67.3 billion in 1991,
climbing to at least
$100 billion based on 1994 data -- with projections of at
least $160 billion a year by 2010.
Alzheimer's, the facts
Scientists do not yet fully
understand what causes Alzheimer's. There probably is not one single
cause, but several factors that affect each person differently.
greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer's is increasing age.
Most individuals with the disease are 65 or older. The
likelihood of developing Alzheimer's doubles about every five
years after age 65. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50
- Risk genes
increase the likelihood of developing the disease, but do not
guarantee it will happen. Scientists have so far identified one
Alzheimer risk gene called apoliprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4). They
have also found rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer's in
only a few hundred extended families worldwide.
appears to be a strong link between serious head injury and
future risk of Alzheimer's. Modest head trauma, however, seems
to produce no increased risk.
- Some of the
strongest evidence links brain health to heart health. Your
brain is nourished by one of your body's richest networks of
blood vessels. Every heartbeat pumps about 20 to 25 percent of
your blood to your head, where brain cells use at least 20
percent of the food and oxygen your blood carries. Reduce that
flow, and you damage your brain.
study published in the Archives of Neurology
linked sufferers of diabetes to a 65 percent higher risk of
developing Alzheimer's disease. A more recent study puts the
risk at almost
New research indicates that inflammatory stress leading to
metabolic changes in brain proteins may be a significant factor.
finally, there is the much debated aluminum connection. Much of
the ambiguity may be because researchers are looking at the
wrong culprit. There are indications that aluminum by itself may
not be a significant trigger for Alzheimer's, but
aluminum fluoride may be.
Where does that leave us?
So what do we know from all of these
facts and figures, other than that we are afraid and that
Alzheimer's is going to cost us a great deal of money? Actually,
when you look at the data as the proverbial forest and not just as a
series of isolated trees, quite a bit.
probably is not one single cause, but several factors that
affect each person differently. That means that the search for
"The Cure for Alzheimer's" is likely to be fruitless, in
addition to being extremely expensive -- but with massive
amounts of research money available, it will continue
- It's not
primarily related to genetics. Rather it's related to
deteriorating conditions connected with the aging process.
- Most of
those conditions can be ameliorated, or even reversed, through
the use of diet and lifestyle changes and the use of
So what can we do?
So, given what we've observed above,
what can we do to improve our odds of being among the 50%
unafflicted group at age 85? As turns out, quite a lot, and even
better, nothing other than what you should already be doing to
maintain optimum health. If you're following the Baseline of Health
Program, you're already covered. For those of you not familiar with
the Baseline of Health Program, you can download a free copy of
Lessons from the Miracle Doctors
jonbarron.org. It lays out the whole program in detail. But in
summary, as it applies to Alzheimer's:
The connection of Alzheimer's with
cardiovascular disease would appear to have two primary components:
(1) reduced flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain resulting from
restricted arteries and (2) inflammation of areas of the brain
caused by many of the same factors that cause inflammation of
arterial tissue, which leads to the hardening of the arteries and
the build up of arterial plaque.
dietary changes such as avoiding heavy consumption of
saturated fats and transfatty acids make sense.
consumption of high
Omega-6 vegetables oils.
Omega-3 fatty acids is obviously essential. For the best
sources of Omega-3 fatty acids check out my
homocysteine levels by using a supplement that includes B12,
folic acid, and TMG. Also, regular use of methylation
supplements such as SAMe is useful.
Systemic inflammation is starting to
emerge as one of the biggest risk factors you face. It is now
implicated in everything from heart disease to cancer to
Alzheimer's. Reducing that inflammation is not difficult.
The primary culprit when it comes to
diabetes appears to be glycation. Glycation is the uncontrolled
reaction of sugars with proteins. It's kind of like what happens to
sugars when you heat them and they caramelize. In effect, glycation
is what happens when excess sugars caramelize the proteins in your
body. It's a major factor in the aging process
— and it's
particularly devastating to diabetics. Thanks largely to the
destructive effect of sugar and aldehydes, the protein in our bodies
tends to undergo destructive changes as we age. This destruction is
a prime factor, not only in the aging process itself, but also in
the familiar signs of aging such as wrinkling skin, cataracts, and
the destruction of our nervous system -- particularly our brains.
consumption of high glycemic foods such as sugars and refined
grains is step one.
Reducing the impact of any high glycemic foods that you do
eat and optimizing the metabolism of carbohydrates in general is
the damage caused by any of the sugars and alcohols that sneak
through is step three.
supplements that can help include CoQ10 and Gingko biloba.
Not just aluminum and fluoride, but
all heavy metals including lead can cause deterioration of brain
And finally there's exercise, not
just physical but also mental.
aerobic exercise improves oxygen flow to the brain. Even regular
dancing has been shown to help.
bearing exercise can increase human growth hormone production by
as much as 800%.
exercise opens up circulation to every area of the body.
exercises that challenge your mind make a difference. Playing
bridge, chess, or a musical instrument all help. In fact,
studies have shown that people who do 4 crossword puzzles a week
47% reduced risk of Alzheimer's. What do you think about