The loss of the mind when the body is still intact is a difficult thing. Fear of dementia is universal.
Much like every other chronic disease we know of, countless dollars are poured from the private sector, the government and the drug companies to find that miraculous cure. For a time, the spotlight was on therapies to use the immune system to destroy the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brains of those with dementia, but this pathway has borne no fruit. As a result of this failed endeavor, many of the drug companies trying to find a cure based on the amyloid protein have halted funding in this direction.
Meanwhile, for over a decade there has been strong evidence about lifestyle habits that can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s dementia. Over a decade of blocking the information on how incredibly protective lifestyle can be for Alzheimer’s dementia. Even the Alzheimer’s Association website has nothing on the homepage about prevention. You would think that there is no way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The list of protective factors is quite long and beyond the scope of this post, but you can begin to read some of these by clicking here (hint: exercise alone has been shown to lower risk some 90%).
All of this leads to this particular article. In it, Dr. Gandy basically reviews the current evidence on Alzheimer’s, both in the realm of treatment and prevention. He notes that the FDA is now leaning towards therapies that will lower the risk in those known to be at high genetic risk. The hints of an answer from clinical trials will begin to be seen as early as 2018.
2018?? Some 20+ years after the research began to emerge on how to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia we’ll begin to admit that we can prevent it? There are times that I’m sure the medical research I review and comment on is available to me and me alone and no other researcher or clinician has access to it. How else could we remain so incredibly disconnected?
Either way, don’t wait another 20 or more years. We already know that damage to the brains of the children of Alzheimer’s patients begin to show up decades earlier than anyone thought. If you have a close family member that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the 20+ year lag is going to be too late for you. You need to start now.