It may be generations before rising rates of Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s rates will stop increasing. One of my pet peeves in the average medical practice today is that we continue to remain decades behind research. It is this delay that will keep the next generation from avoiding Alzheimers dementia.
Why is this? Because it is very clear that the damage to the brain that occurs in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s begin decades before symptoms appear. For Parkinson’s, we know that, by the time symptoms are present, 70% of the brain cells in a specific region of the brain have died. 70%.
That means that, in anyone who has had a family history of these neurodegenerative conditions, there is a high likelihood that damage has already begun.
So, while patients I have come across who have this family history and are concerned about also developing the disease, none understand that the process has already begun.
Hopefully, this particular article will make this a little more clear. Basically, researchers looked at the hippocampal region of the brain (the area principally affected in Alzheimer’s) and found that this region had begun to atrophy (shrink).
Even more to the point, the brain had begun to shrink WITHOUT any cognitive loss. Clearly, the damage was already occurring, but it would yet be years before symptoms are evident.
If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, or if you do not want to be the one to start the family history in your family tree, changes need to start now. These changes have been addressed in prior posts and can be viewed here.
In the meantime, if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, have you been told that your brain may already been at risk?