The hunt is always on for a pharmaceutical cure for Alzheimer’s. More recently, medical science has been paying more attention to lab findings in your general health status that may predate dementia. Memory loss whether due to dementia or Alzheimer’s is not losing the status as what seniors and boomers fear the most. However, be glad that there is a decent amount of research going into what I will call the keys to prevention. Smart phones keep getting smarter, we need lab tech to get smarter as well.
I had promised a while ago to review Dr Majid Fotuhi’s book; The Memory Cure: How to Protect your Brain against Memory Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease. I was a bit overwhelmed with the wealth of information it contained to be able to summarize the book. His emphasis on the part of the brain known as the hippo-campus and keeping up with the 2% annual loss, had been the focus of the lecture that I had attended. Now I am reading many other articles that point to the body-brain connection. Everyone of course encourages walking and regular exercise to stave off the devastating effects of memory loss. Challenging your mind with puzzles and learning new things has always been a no-brainer.
After reading an article about glucose levels and pre diabetic damage to blood vessels in the brain: http://www.ibtimes.com/what-earliest-sign-alzheimers-disease-decline-glucose-levels-signals-onset-cognitive-2504612?ft=95p2z , I registered another key for an evasive maneuver.
Going back to Dr Fotudi’s book, I reread a passage on the effect of cholesterol. Newer studies show a 24% reduction over the last 12 years in people over the age of 65 in the expected levels of dementia ( NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/health/dementia-rates-united-states.html . This fact is now partly been attribute to the fact that we as a generation have been treated more widely for high cholesterol. Anything that irritates the linings of your blood vessels and causes inflammation stops the flow of blood through the brain.
Also there are the effects of the lack of Vitamin B12, a vitamin that has a more difficult time being absorbed by older adults. When I first became a vegetarian I had early shades of this. On page 96-97 of Dr Fotuhi’s book, he gives a chilling example of what can happen. Another precursor of dementia can be homocysteine levels that can be too high (when the B12 and folate levels are too low).
If the only ‘sign’ of Alzheimer’s and dementia is actual early memory loss, then the options for containing or reversing it are reduced. There needs to be more refined panel of blood tests for seniors that take a look at glucose problems, B12 and folate levels and of course the always destructive cholesterol. I propose the idea that we all should receive a specific battery of lab tests that could highlight possible warning signs BEFORE any signs in faulty memory or judgement. They keep testing us for the hepatitis every time they draw blood, why not a combination to target the above?
There is more than one key to good brain function as you age and that deserves vigilance on all fronts. Proactive is a word our generation kind of grew up with, like it or not. At least the medical community is looking more into the pipe line. I will skip the ounce of prevention comment. Rather the brain you save by being more demanding of your medical professional, may be your own.