Alzheimer's This and That

Okay busy bees, this should make you feel a lot better about yourselves. A new study claims organized driven people have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press has more:
A purposeful personality may somehow protect the brain, perhaps by increasing neural connections that can act as a reserve against mental decline, said study co-author Robert Wilson of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.

Astoundingly, the brains of some of the dutiful people in the study were examined after their deaths and were found to have lesions that would meet accepted criteria for Alzheimer's -- even though these people had shown no signs of dementia.

"This adds to our knowledge that lifestyle, personality, how we think, feel and behave are very importantly tied up with risk for this terrible illness," Wilson said. "It may suggest new ideas for trying to delay the onset of this illness."

Previous studies have linked social connections and stimulating activities like working puzzles with a lower risk of Alzheimer's. The same researchers reported previously that people who experience more distress and worry about their lives are at a higher risk.
Couple this with last year’s report showing that exercise helps stop Alzheimer’s and task masters everywhere can rejoice! Now, if you also eat healthfully, you’re in really good shape because Dr. Fuhrman links superior nutrition to Alzheimer’s prevention. Here’s a quote:
Alzheimer’s dementia is an irreversible brain disorder that typically develops in the elderly. It leads to memory loss, personality changes, and a general decline in cognitive function.

With the high incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in our aging population, more and more research is underway to come up with novel treatments for this brain disease. Given the large distortion of brain architecture that occurs in Alzheimer’s, it is unlikely that drug treatment will offer a solution to this debilitating problem.

Green vegetable consumption was low and animal fat consumption was high in the past histories of Alzheimer’s patients.1,2 Japanese studies have found the same relationships: individuals with low consumption of vegetables and high consumption of meat were found to be the ones most likely to develop Alzheimer’s.3

Just as in the case of heart disease, the world’s leading researchers on the subject consider diets high in animal fat to be the major factor in the causation of Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress to our brain tissue from the combination of a diet rich in saturated fat and low in the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables lays the groundwork for brain damage later in life. Deficiencies of DHA (a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid) which often are found in Alzheimer’s patients, also have been shown to promote dementia.4 Inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, leafy greens,and certain fish also are implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s.
All this certainly gives you a fighting chance against this often mysterious disease. For more on Alzheimer’s, check out Followhealthlife’s Alzheimer’s category.
1. Otsuka M, Yamaguchi K, Ueki A. Similarities and differences between Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia from the viewpoint of nutrition. Ann NY Acad Sci 2002;977:156-161.

2. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Dietary fats and the risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 2003;60(2):194-200.

3. Otsuka M. Analysis of dietary factors in Alzheimer’s disease: clinical use of nutritional intervention for prevention and treatment of dementia. Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi 2000;37(12):970-973.

4. Conquer JA, Tierney MC, Zecevic J, et al. Fatty acid analysis of blood plasma of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, and cognitive impairment. Lipids 2000;35(12):1305-1312.
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Gladys Wentland - November 13, 2007 12:04 AM

With a grandmother and now mother who have succumbed to Alzheimer's, I am obviously very anxious to do whatever I can to prevent this horrible disease. My folks were vegetarian from about mid-life and in their mid 70's became vegan. Both parents ate the same, but only my mother has Alzheimers. What are your thoughts on the connection between aluminum and a high fat diet?

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