When Doctor Aloysius Alzheimer first identified the disease ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ in 1901 he noticed several distinguishing features.
These now show that around 70% of all cases of dementia are, in fact, Alzheimer’s. On our current path, the incidence of the disease is going to increase by 350% over the next 35 years (by 2050).
Like many diseases, we see huge variations geographically and this can be attributed to diet and lifestyle.
However, there is a genetic element to this disease and the principal gene is APOEε4. When expressed it increases the risk significantly.
If one of your parents has it, your risk is increased by around 300%, both parents, 1500%.
The good news is that not all gene expression is equal; as an example the genes that determine if you will have blue eyes are determined, and you can not change these. Fortunately, the APOEε4 gene is like most chronic diseases and works more in the manner of a committee, so to say for the expression other factors influence the chance of promotion.
Amyloid precursor proteins for the brown spots on the image below and they are responsible for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. They disrupt the brain synapses, which disrupt memory and other cognitive functions.
The solution is formed of multiple behaviours and has been demonstrated through many studies now and provides some really positive results.
The behaviours are to maintain a total cholesterol level of under 150 mg/dl, avoid saturated fats above around 3% of total calories (typically 10 grams per day), eat foods containing folate, B6, B12 and vitamin E as well as exercise and brain stimulation.
Exercise in the studies showed to help reverse brain shrinkage (ventricular atrophy) once over 40 minutes,3 times a week and brain stimulation was proven effective with tasks such as housework, gardening, participating in sports and community activities.
Interesting stuff, I think anyway.
All my love,
Thanks for drawing people’s attention to the fact that dementia can, more often than not, be avoided by making appropriate lifestyle choices.
Strictly speaking, the word ‘dementia’ is an umbrella term for a myriad collection of symptoms of progressive cognitive decline & other psychological changes. Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most common cause of dementia, and the second most prevalent cause is vascular disease. (Dementia can also be caused by other, less common, conditions & diseases for example Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.) The risk of onset & development of Alzheimer’s and vascular disease (and it’s possible to have both concurrently) is heavily influenced by diet, exercise and attitude to life.
Well, yes exactly and you’ve somewhat pre-empted a following article on vascular dementia. You’re quite right and thank you Val 🙂
I think this topic needs to be discussed more.