Finally something new in the arsenal against dementia. For years researchers, drug companies have pursued the plague theory of what causes the devastating cognitive hit to the brain that is Alzheimer’s. As I had predicted in earlier blogs, as expensive drug trials fail to find that silver bullet for the silver generation, they are trying another approach.  The simplicity of it kind of blows you away when you think why not start here. Inflammation in the brain could never be a good thing.

So in the land of  pharmaceutical invention they are looking at using two  already existing  medications to stop brain inflammation.  A study is under way using Cromolyn,  a drug used to treat asthma and lung inflammation combined with  basic Ibuprofen.  It is not a cure for what has already happened or maybe yes?  Anything that can slow the damage done is important.

Read more about that here: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/aging/targeting-brain-inflammation-key-beating-alzheimer-s-disease-n1014121

But while we wait once  again for  several years for them to work that one out, a simple acronym for building your own defense shield against brain inflammation has emerged. Maria Carrillo, chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Association and Rudolph Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard University and the director of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital agree on something very important.

“The big breakthrough is that neuroinflammation is the target. It’s killing the bulk of the nerve cells that leads to dementia.”

Their new approach also explains the  the puzzle as to why in post mortem brain studies, people with all the tangles of the plague in their brains did not exhibit Alzheimer’s in their life time.  Maybe they did not have inflammatory cells in them!

So what is the SHIELD against Alzheimer’s?

Dr Tanzi suggests an approach he calls SHIELD, an acronym for lifestyle factors that appear to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They include:

  • developing good sleep habits
  • getting a handle on stress
  • interacting with friends
  • exercising daily
  • learning new skills
  • eating a healthy diet

Much has been written about a healthy lifestyle, now maybe everyone can understand what the investment is for your  cognitive future.