I recently bought a fridge magnet my wife Vivien (who is currently in Paris, whooping it up with her sister!) It says:
How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are?
Great sentiment. Of course it’s better not to be ruled by calendar concepts of how old we are… I’m fast approaching 70 and though I can’t say I feel 21 any more, I can say I feel 30-something!
You Are As Old As Your Brain
That said, let’s look at a key issue of aging: brain vitality. When you lose it, you start to get dementia. Alzheimer’s is the #1 dread disease of age. For many, it’s worse than cancer because at least with that your loved one is in the world with you, while they live out their days.
But with Alzheimer’s, you turn around, and suddenly they are “gone”! No question it’s a frightful prospect. But I’m writing this because today I got a mailer from AARP that had the sillyness and cheek to say, “Alzheimer’s can’t be cured and can’t be prevented.”
That’s how much of a throttle hold Big Pharma has on the media. They spout these lies until they are repeated so often they become true in peoples’ minds. Peter Jaret, the writer of the article, is a medical nobody who does his “research” by looking up opinions of Google. But this AARP Bulletin has a large circulation and the damage is already done.
The truth is quite different: Alzheimer’s is essentially preventable and pretty treatable too. More of that in a moment. Meanwhile, let’s demolish the rest of Jaret’s mischief.
The thrust of the piece, as always, is selling drugs. The AARP Bulletin reports the announcement of a new biomarker for those who might develop Alzheimer’s. My first question is: why would you want to do that, if it can’t be prevented anyway? Duh!
The answer, not surprisingly, is: identify these people and pump them full of drugs, to see if AD can be headed off. Maybe by starting drugs early, we can get a better result?
That’s the fluff and propaganda, anyway.
The proposed test checks 10 biomarkers of AD (phospholipids from delicate cell membranes). The test reads in reverse, meaning the less of the markers, the more likely was the patient to develop AD.
It’s only 90% accurate but developers claim there are no false negatives. In other words, everyone who was positive on the test eventually got AD. But then 10% got a false positive, meaning their test said they were at risk but they were not. That flies like a lead balloon.
Moreover, there are major moral and ethical implications for a test of this type (see below).
Possible Protective Protein
In a new study, March 2014 in the journal Nature, scientists identified a protein called REST that flips genes on and off and naturally increases during aging. REST, they found, represses genes involved in Alzheimer’s disease, and its levels are reduced in key brain areas of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or the mild cognitive impairment that precedes dementia.
In laboratory tests, REST protected brain cells from dying when exposed to a number of stresses, including the beta amyloid protein that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
However, you need to be clear about this: the beta amyloid plaques are not proven to cause the damage. They are more likely markers for the damage. Amyloid plaque has been found in normal individuals, without any cognitive impairment. That’s something else you would think is true: so many articles have said, so often, beta amyloid causes Alzheimer’s, that is seemed to have become “true”.
Because genetic studies are not feasible in humans, the REST research team created genetically manipulated mice that lacked the REST protein. When the researchers compared month-old mice with and without REST, they had similar numbers of neurons in key brain areas, but by the time they were eight months old, more brain cells had degenerated and been lost in mice lacking the protein than in those with it.
The scientists also found that among brain cells exposed to a toxin, cells with extra REST were less likely to die. Good stuff, huh? And it also gives the lie to the fact that nothing can be done.
Lithium, by the way, stimulates the production of REST. It is also known to help memory. Join the dots! (I cannot legally advize you to take lithium, without consulting with your licensed physician. But I’ve ordered mine!) Lithium orotate, about 120 mg, delivers 4.6 mg of elemental lithium but you must abide by a safe dosing regimen, otherwise you’ll get in trouble.
So what use is a test to identify those who might likely develop Alzheimer’s disease? Not a lot.
In fact without any effective treatment on the table, it’s worse than useless. It’s potentially harmful to tell patients they are candidates for dementia. Prof. Jason Karlawish from the University of Pennsylvania feels it might motivate people to make healthy lifestyle changes. But it’s unethical to do it just to drum up sales of medicines.
Craig Klugman, a bioethicist who chairs the Department of Health Sciences at DePaul University, quite rightly points out it could change a person’s outlook on life, making them anxious, depressed and withdrawn. Sudden lapses of memory will become frightening and be seen as a sure sign of the disease.
Plus there is another worry; the new test is only 90% accurate and therefore some people will be told they are going to develop Alzheimer’s disease when they won’t. Given the potential psychological stress and disorder of being told such bad news, I do not believe that false positives are acceptable.
The fact remains that the best answer to Alzheimer’s disease is never get it. In the USA today, 10% of the population over 65 years (1 in 9) have it. That means 90% don’t and you’d better be among them!
What Does Work?
All good lifestyle and dietary protocols are excellent. Helpful supplements for brain vitality are acetyl-L-carnitine, Ginkgo biloba, fish oil (DHA specifically), vitamin B12, DMAE, and vinpocetine (better for memory than Gingko).
There are 4 more specifics I want to mention (I already did lithium):
Looking after your phospholipids; remember that was a big factor in REST testing. Choline is key. In 1998, the U.S. Institute of Medicine officially recognized choline as an essential nutrient, establishing an Adequate Intake Level of 550 mg/day for men and 425 mg/day for women and an Upper Tolerable Limit of 3500 mg/day. Phosphatidyl choline (PC) isn’t much good. Phosphatidyl serine is better (PS).
Forget about lecithin. A better choline provider has emerged: alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (A-GPC). It contains approximately 40% choline, on a weight basis, which is very potent. Due to its electrical charge characteristic (polarity), A-GPC releases its choline very effectively in the tissues.
In the diet, choline is obtained from soybeans, eggs, liver, beef, milk, and cruciferous vegetables.
The use of lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceous. It contains a nerve growth factor that promotes growth of new healthy brain cells.
The use of pulsed electromagnetic therapy (PEMT). Simple, inexpensive once you have your own machine and many other benefits too, like decreased blood viscosity.
Last But Not Least – The Surprising Link Between Alzheimer’s and Diet
Get yourself into the Diet Wise Academy and start exploring what foods inflame your tissues and which are safe. It’s an important journey everyone should make at least once in his or her lifetime.
Alzheimer’s is essentially an inflammatory condition and you cannot afford to have inflammation running in your body; it’ll age you faster than anything. Inflammation is also the main process of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many hormone disorders, such as thyroid. Cancer too needs inflammation to spread.
You can go to this website and watch several free introductory videos. Then join us on the inside and start a new life, with new skills and a considerable Diet Wisdom that will keep you safe!
It could be worth up 30 years of extra vigorous life. Most people who do the program claim they feel 15 – 20 years younger, right away.