Simple Steps To Protect Your Brain

Nutrition, Exercise The Best Defense Against Alzheimer’s Disease

As we age, cognitive decline is common, there is much that we can do to boost our brainpower, while promoting overall health.

Neuroplasticity means the brain can grow, rewire, adapt and strengthen when properly stimulated. Recent studies suggest physical and mental exercise, a healthy diet and other common lifestyle changes can improve brain function, delay dementia symptoms and even lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Even though we cannot predict exactly who will get Alzheimer’s disease and when, we do know that people who practice Alzheimer’s prevention strategies improve their quality of life and reap immediate benefits in memory and health,” says Dr. Gary Small, director of UCLA’s Longevity Center and co-author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life.

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Here are some smart ways to boost your brain, while building total body health:

Lose Weight and Lower Your Blood Pressure

Carrying around a lot of belly fat is often a sign of increased cell inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. In one study, men who had the most abdominal fat in their 40s were the most likely to develop dementia later on. Just another reason to improve your diet and lace up your walking shoes.

A sharp, healthy brain needs a good supply of oxygen and glucose to operate. Better blood flow gets it there. Increased blood flow helps brain cells communicate better, says Small, who believes that as little as 15 to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day can lower Alzheimer’s risk.

Have it checked every year. If it’s high — that is, above 120/80 mmHg — work with your doctor to get it down. High systolic blood pressure limits blood and nutrients to the brain, making it more likely that you will lose gray matter in critical areas as you age.

Consume Salmon

Studies have shown that eating foods like salmon, tuna and other oily fish — along with flaxseed and walnuts — that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a good bet for all-around brain and heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids contain DHA and EPA, which are highly concentrated in the brain and crucial for optimal brain function, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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These fatty acids are important to consume, because our neurons use them to build brain cell walls and maintain good brain health. In studies, people with low blood levels of omega-3s had lower brain volume than people with higher levels, suggesting their brains were aging more rapidly. One study at Tufts University found that people who ate oily fish three times a week reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly 40 percent.

Eat Leafy Green Vegetables

The ideal side dish to your salmon entrée is a leafy green vegetable like spinach, kale, Swiss chard or collards. All have been linked to slowing cognitive decline, thanks to their high concentration of vitamin K. According to a new study from Rush University Medical Center, people who ate one to two servings of leafy greens each day had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.

Eat Blueberries

And eat a bucketful. Inside each berry is a special antioxidant called anthocyanin, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and protect brain cells from oxidation damage. A Harvard Nurses’ Health Study of 16,000 women older than 70 found that women who consumed two or more half-cup servings of blueberries or strawberries per week remained mentally sharper than those who didn’t eat berries.

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Brain Stimulation

Word-recall tasks and other brain challenges like Sudoku and crossword puzzles might decrease your risk of dementia, according to a recent study at the University of California, Berkeley. The scientists believe brain challenges prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain, the protein that accumulates in the brain of Alzheimer patients.

Olive Oil

A study from Spain showed that men who ate about four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day showed better language comprehension, attention and abstract thinking than those on a low-fat diet. Its antioxidants may reduce brain inflammation.

Social Interaction

In an eight-year study reported in The Lancet Neurology, researchers gave cognitive-performance tests to 89 elderly people and then compared the results of testing with autopsy findings some years later. They found that the larger a person’s social network, the smaller an effect the neurological tangles and plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease had on cognitive ability. Researchers say the protective effects of having many friends were more evident for the parts of the brain where we store general knowledge, language and factual information.

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Alzheimer's disease public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Its expertise includes health and environmental issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

Caregivers Overwhelmed By Alzheimer’s Disease

eBook Offers Vital Tips For Caregivers, Patients

Neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. There are no vaccines to prevent it or cure it. Prevention is our best hope and nutrition offers the only proven hope for those who have brain disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). As the name implies, the disease is transmissible and extremely difficult to treat.

The good news is that with the truth, caregivers can safeguard themselves and others, while treating patients with targeted nutrition that helps treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Targeted nutrition also offers promise in preventing brain disease.

A new book by researcher Gary R. Chandler sheds light on tips for aversion and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neurodegenerative disease. The most common forms of neurodegenerative disease include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease–the most aggressive and infectious of them all.

Prions and Alzheimer's disease

According to Nobel Prize Laureate Stanley Prusiner, they are all part of the same disease spectrum—prion disease. It’s also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

TSEs are caused by a deadly protein called a prion (PREE-on). Prion disease is unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Blood, saliva, mucus, milk, urine and feces carry deadly prions from the victim. All tissue is infectious.

Prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices, restaurants and many other places infinitely. They migrate, mutate, multiply and kill with unparalleled efficiency. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. Victims often become infectious long before they appear sick.

Prions kill everything in their path—man or beast. Prions are highly infectious and the bodies of victims become highly infectious long before they look or feel sick. Blood, milk, meat, urine, saliva, mucus, feces and other bodily fluids of victims are contagious.

According to research from Duke University, caregivers of someone with dementia are six times more likely to develop the condition themselves.

Even sophisticated healthcare systems have failed to grasp the severity of prion disease. Unfortunately, hospitals around the world have been sued for spreading CJD to innocent patients. Most health care systems are still misinformed and under-informed about the dangers that CJD patients pose to others. Therefore, these care facilities are exposing others and contributing to a global mismanagement problem.

Alzheimer's disease infectious disease

Only a decade ago, the idea that Alzheimer’s disease might be transmissible between people would have been laughed away. But scientists have now shown that tissues can transmit symptoms of the disease between animals. A new study published in the journal Nature raises additional concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people.

Prion disease is a spectrum disease because of its many mutations and because some victims appear to have a genetic predisposition to resist the disease. Some prions can kill people within weeks of exhibiting clinical symptoms, while others can take years. Others may not fall victim to the disease, but can still carry the pathogen internally and externally. Victims become infectious long before they appear sick. Their bodily fluids proceed to contaminate the world around them with infectious waste.

Alzheimer's disease research

Since prion disease is a spectrum disease, doctors can’t tell the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and CJD. It’s a process of elimination and a shot in the dark. The only definitive diagnosis comes with an autopsy, which rarely happens with neurological disease (concerns over deadly contamination). All doctors are guessing with each diagnosis based on the severity of the symptoms. This problem also complicates the search for accurate statistics about the size and scope of the epidemic.

Alzheimer’s diagnoses are wrong at least 20 percent of the time. Unfortunately for caregivers and family members, the protocol for patient care and caregiver safety are vastly different for Alzheimer’s patients and CJD patients. The double standards put many stakeholders at risk. It’s reckless to try to distinguish between prion diseases on the spectrum. In other words, treat people with Alzheimer’s disease as though they have CJD. Assume the worst and hope for the best. A deadly prion is a deadly prion.

infectious waste and food contamination

Although there are many causes and pathways contributing to prion disease, many pathways are being mismanaged around the globe. Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators. Sewage sludge and wastewater pumped out spread the disease.

Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease

Nearly 15 million caregivers in the U.S. work with someone who has Alzheimer’s, and approximately 70 percent of Alzheimer’s patients are cared for by relatives and friends. In addition to the truth about transmissibility, these caregivers desperately need guidance on effective treatments. The search for cures has been a total washout.

Fortunately, targeted nutrition offers promise. Some foods increase your risk of contracting brain disease, while some foods help prevent it. Other foods offer the best hope for effective treatment. For example, the eBook explains how walnuts, coconut oil, olive oil, grapes, salmon and hundreds of other foods offer proven results to people with brain disease.

Alzheimer's disease Survival Guide

Order the eBook now and learn how to:

  • Avoid neurotoxins in food, water and the circles of life;
  • Prevent brain disease with targeted nutritional guidance;
  • Effectively treat brain disease with nutritional therapies. It’s the most logical and comprehensive nutritional advice available for neurological disease; and
  • Keep caregivers safe. Misinformation and misdiagnoses are putting us at risk.

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Alzheimer’s Disease Summit Yields Recommendations For Prevention, Treatment

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Should Be More Inclusive, Collaborative

The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015: Path to Treatment and Prevention held Feb. 9-10 brought together leading experts on Alzheimer’s disease and other complex diseases to identify research priorities and strategies needed to accelerate the research and development of successful therapies.

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More than 60 leading experts from academia, industry, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups joined were convened by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with support from the Foundation for NIH. The summit drew 500 participants onsite, with another 500 participating via video.

The recommendations call for a change in how the academic, biopharmaceutical and government sectors participating in Alzheimer’s disease research and therapy generate, share and use knowledge to propel the development of new therapies.

They outline new scientific approaches to address critical knowledge gaps and propose ways to harness emerging technologies to accelerate treatments for people at all stages of Alzheimer’s disease. They also identified infrastructure and partnerships necessary to successfully implement the new research agenda and strategies to empower patients and engage citizens.

The agenda will help guide both the public and private sectors toward meeting research goals set forth in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, a national strategy aimed at identifying effective interventions to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Several overarching and transformative concepts were identified by Summit participants as critical to achieving success in Alzheimer’s disease therapy development:

    • Understand all aspects of healthy brain aging and cognitive resilience to inform strategies for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention.
    • Expand integrative, data-driven research approaches such as systems biology and systems pharmacology.
    • Develop computational tools and infrastructure in order to enable storage, integration, and analysis of large-scale biological and other patient-relevant data.
    • Leverage the use of wearable sensors and other mobile health technologies to inform discovery science as well as research on Alzheimer’s disease care.
    • Support and enable Open Science in basic, translational, and clinical research.
    • Change the academic, publishing, and funding incentives to promote collaborative, transparent, and reproducible research.
    • Invest in the development of a new translational and data science workforce.
    • Engage citizens, caregivers, and patients as equal partners in Alzheimer’s disease research.

These recommendations will be considered by the National Advisory Council on Aging at its meeting on May 12 and 13, 2015.

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Seth Rogen Testifies Before U.S. Senate About Alzheimer’s Disease

Senators “Forget” To Attend Hearing

Alzheimer’s disease is no laughing matter. Just ask Seth Rogen, who visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to make a case for Alzheimer’s disease research. Unfortunately, many members of the Senate committee didn’t show up to listen and learn.

The “This Is the End” star, 31, who serves as an Alzheimer’s Association celebrity champion, addressed a Senate committee about the neurodegenerative disorder and opened up about the plight of his mother-in-law, Adele, his authenticity punctuated with self-deprecating humor during a hearing about the rising cost of Alzheimer’s.

Seth Rogen and Alzheimer's disease advocacy

“I came here today for a few reasons. One, I’m a huge ‘House of Cards’ fan. Just marathoned the whole thing, had to be here,” quipped Rogen, who started the Alzheimer’s organization Hilarity for Charity.

“Two, is to say, people need more help. I’ve personally seen the massive amount of financial strain this disease causes and if the American people ever decide to reject genitalia-driven comedy, I will no longer be able to afford it. … I can’t begin to imagine how people with more limited incomes are dealing with this. … The third reason I’m here, simply, is to show people that they are not alone, so few people share their personal stories.”

Rogen, who explained how he was personally affected by the disease, said that it’s the most costly condition in the United States, trumping heart disease. He said deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased almost 70% in the last 15 years, adding that more than 5 million Americans have it, with as many as 16 million Americans projected to have it within the next 35 years.

He said that when he met his wife Lauren Miller’s mother, Adele, she was 54 and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s shortly after.

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“I thought it was something only really, really old people got and I thought the way the disease primarily showed itself was in the form of forgotten keys, wearing mismatched shoes and being asked the same question over and over,” he admitted.

That period lasted a few years for Adele, he said, before he “saw the real ugly truth of the disease.”

“After forgetting who she and her loved ones were,” Rogen continued, she “forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself and go to the bathroom herself, all by the age of 60.”

His and Miller’s personal plight with Alzheimer’s opened his eyes to the “shame and stigma” around the disease and prompted them to “actually try and do something to change the situation.”

Hilarity for Charity, a fund with the Alzheimer’s Assn., is meant to raise money to help families and support Alzheimer’s research in pursuit of a cure.

“That’s right, the situation is so dire that it caused me — a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man child — to start an entire charity organization,” he quipped. “It was through this that we felt we weren’t just complaining there was nothing to be done but actively taking steps to do something. Instead of being disappointed that young people were so misinformed about the reality of the disease, we started to educate them.”

Rogen was joined by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins as well as National Institute of Aging Director Richard Hodes. He even got a few laughs from Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who humorously unmasked himself as “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey and indicated that it was the first time the record has ever used the term “Knocked Up.”

“Americans whisper the word Alzheimer’s because their government whispers the word Alzheimer’s,” Rogen said. “And although a whisper is better than the silence that the Alzheimer’s community has been facing for decades, it’s still not enough. It needs to be yelled and screamed to the point that it finally gets the attention and the funding that it deserves and needs.”

Though the actor took to Twitter to share his testimony, he also seemed disappointed about the turnout.

“Not sure why only two senators were at the hearing. Very symbolic of how the Government views Alzheimer’s. Seems to be a low priority,” he tweeted.

Alzheimer's disease research

Rogen also called out Sen. Mark Kirk for leaving before he testified, after the Illinois Republican tweeted about the actor’s appearance.

“.@SenatorKirk pleasure meeting you,” he wrote. “Why did you leave before my speech? Just curious.”

“All those empty seats are senators who are not prioritizing Alzheimer’s,” Rogen continued. “Unless more noise is made, it won’t change.”

The actor reportedly called out senators who left early or dozed off during his comments in an appearance on “Hardball” that will air Wednesday night.


Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Reduced By Blood Pressure Drug

Beta Blockers A Possible Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease

Men and women who take drugs to keep high blood pressure in check may be somewhat protected against Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, a new study found. And those who took a type of blood pressure drug called a beta blocker may be particularly protected from dementia.

Alzheimers epidemic

The report, presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th annual meeting, found that treatment for high blood pressure was good for the brain, regardless of the type of blood pressure medication taken. But people who took beta blockers had the fewest brain changes typical of incipient Alzheimer’s disease.

Examples of beta blockers, which slow the heart beat, include acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), bisoprolol (Zebeta), metoprolol, nadolol (Corgard), nebivolol (Bystolic) and propranolol (Inderal LA). Over time, high blood pressure has corrosive effects on blood vessels throughout the body, including the brain.

For the study, researchers looked at elderly Japanese-American men who were part of the ongoing Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Autopsies were performed on 774 of the men after they died, most of whom had suffered from high blood pressure or were being treated for the disease. About 15 percent were taking a beta-blocker alone, while another 18 percent were taking a beta blocker along with another blood pressure medication.

Those taking beta blockers had the fewest brain abnormalities typical of Alzheimer’s disease. They also had fewer microinfarcts, a condition that arises when blood does not get to certain areas of the brain, causing multiple tiny strokes.

Study participants who had taken beta blockers, alone or in combination with another blood pressure medication, also had significantly less shrinkage in their brains. Shrinkage of the brain occurs in Alzheimer’s disease and progresses as the disease gets worse.

This does not mean that beta blockers will prevent Alzheimer’s in people who do not have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Treatment of their high blood pressure with beta blockers lowered their risk of developing Alzheimer’s to the level of risk seen in people without high blood pressure.

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“With the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease expected to grow significantly as our population ages, it is increasingly important to identify factors that could delay or prevent the disease,” said study author Dr. Lon White of the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute in Honolulu. “These results are exciting, especially since beta blockers are a common treatment for high blood pressure.”

More research needs to be done to confirm the links between high blood pressure, dementia and various types of blood pressure medications. It is not a good idea for someone to start taking beta blocker drugs as an Alzheimer’s preventive or for someone on blood pressure medications to switch drugs without consulting their doctor. But experts agree that a healthy heart helps contribute to a healthy brain, and it’s always a good idea to keep blood pressure in check.

Submitted by The Alzheimer’s Information. 

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit Offers Recommendations

Alzheimer’s Research In Spotlight

The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention, held May 14-15, 2012, brought together leading experts on Alzheimer’s disease and other complex diseases to identify research priorities and strategies needed to accelerate the development of successful therapies.

Alzheimer's disease research

The Summit was attended by an international group of some 500 researchers, clinicians and members of the broader Alzheimer’s community who contributed actively to the Summit process through extensive input and discussion during the course of the meeting. The topics that were discussed included the current understanding of this complex disorder, the need for more basic research into the pathobiology of Alzheimer’s disease, existing models and approaches to drug development, and new ideas to speed development of effective interventions for treatment and prevention.