The scientific literature on Alzheimer’s disease (Alz) encompasses tens of thousands of experiments. The following are relevant conclusions derived from that research.
Late onset Alz remains a common affliction of those who age beyond the 5th decade of life and affects women more than men.
Alz develops slowly; the early stages of the disease tend not to be noticeable yet set the stage for the progression of the disease.
Once Alz has progressed to the stage where there is marked loss of memory, the progression of the disease seems unstoppable. Indeed, as of now, we have no way of stopping the progression of Alz once clearly established.
Many reasonable ideas regarding how to stop the progression of the disease have been tested; however, all tests indicate that the ideas were not as reasonable as hoped for. No tested approach to develop a medical solution to Alz has led to a satisfactory conclusion, and no vaccine has been developed to prevent the disease. Even if, by tomorrow, a medical solution seemed to cure or prevent Alz, it would still take years for that good outcome to be translated into a practical solution.
Advanced Alz is terrible and manifests itself as a complete loss of memory (loss of self) and helplessness. The advanced stages can last for many months and even years.
Epidemiological research (research into the circumstances of, and control of, disease) has identified a number of signs that seem to be related to the development of Alz. These signs are called risk-factors. Some of these risk-factors may be causal events in the development of Alz.
Biological research into the nature of Alz has identified features of the disease. Among the features of the disease, one seems to be particularly important: To sustain a healthy brain there must be a regular flow of fluids throughout the entire brain that removes accumulated “waste” from the fluid of the brain. The brain’s cells produce waste (e.g., certain proteins) which in turn need to be removed rather than accumulate. Further, if brain cells do die, they become waste and must be removed. Viruses and small particles in the air we breathe can get into the brain and must be removed promptly to prevent an escalation of damage.
So, what risk-factors are related to less-than-healthy regular flow of fluids throughout the brain? If we knew that, we might be able to prevent the development of Alz. Actually, we do know something about that. Features of our daily lives such as certain diets and regular vigorous exercise promote healthy fluid-flow throughout the brain. Healthy fluid-flow throughout the brain reduces the damage to the brain caused by an accumulation of waste.
Recent research indicates that healthy sleep aids and abets waste removal from the brain. Chronic insomnia is a known risk-factor for Alz. Therefore, correcting chronic insomnia can contribute to preventing the development of Alz. There are known ways of correcting chronic insomnia by practicing certain behaviors. Taking what are called sleeping pills is not an effective way of correcting chronic insomnia and are highly likely to be harmful.
Biological research has identified another important feature of Alz. Many cases of Alz begin in the part of the brain whose function is the perception of scents (odors or odorants). The vulnerable part of the smell-brain is the part outside of the skull, the part that responds to chemicals in the air we breathe. The risk-factor of lost sense of smell is highly related to the development of Alz.
What known risk-factors are related to lost ability to perceive scents and hence might be harmful to the beginning of the smell-brain and be a causal event in the development of Alz? We have identified some of those potential harms. For example, events which overwhelm the tissue protecting the beginning of the smell-brain from harm would expose the smell-brain to harm. Events that might overwhelm the tissue protecting the smell-brain are excesses of viruses, bacteria and/or dirt in the air. Certain drugs might be harmful to the tissue protecting the smell-brain.
If by our own behavior we can aid and abet healthy fluid-flow throughout the brain and by our own behavior prevent insults to the beginnings of the smell-brain, then we can reduce significantly the risk of developing Alz.
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Project encourages behaviors that modify the physiology of the brain for the better and warn individuals about behaviors and events that might actually encourage the development of Alz.
Currently, reducing selected risks is the only known way of managing the overall risk of developing Alz. We wish to encourage you to attend to those risks one at a time until you have substantially reduced your risk of developing Alz.
With a little advice from us and by way of your own behavior, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alz. Return to Home