Category

Cognitive Health & Neurodegenerative Disease

Patients often tell me they would like to live as long as they reasonably can, provided they do not suffer cognitive decline. More often than not, people care less about how long they live and more about how well they live, specifically as it pertains to their brain.

Anyone who has seen a relative suffer from a neurodegenerative disease – such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease – can no doubt relate to the debilitating nature of these conditions. Unlike heart disease and cancer, which kill directly, the fatal impact of neurodegenerative diseases is often indirect.

While much is still unknown, data suggest that there are indeed things that can be done to ward off one’s risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease. Aside from genetics, the next most common risk factor we see is vascular disease.

The adage “what’s good for the heart is good for the brain” rings true here. Meaning, the factors that increase your risk for atherosclerosis – such as high blood pressure, smoking, and elevated apoB – also increase the risk of dementia.

Below is a collection of past articles and podcasts exploring such tactics. My hope is that this content can serve as helpful resources to dive deeper into this topic as well as support your ongoing longevity journey.

What can you prove?

If that weren’t enough to set me off, consider the overall weakness of this study, and the choice of the word “proven” borders on journalistic manslaughter.

#66 – Vamsi Mootha, M.D.: Aging, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease – do all roads lead to mitochondria?

“We have 300 different forms of monogenic mitochondrial diseases. . .and these are terrible diseases and we need therapies for them. . .but it’s also our hope that studying some of them will provide insights into the common form of aging as well.” —Vamsi Mootha

#58 – AMA with sleep expert, Matthew Walker, Ph.D.: Strategies for sleeping more, sleeping better, and avoiding things that are disrupting sleep

“[Sleep] is like that master volume button on a mixing deck that you see in the studio. You can manipulate each one of those dials, or you can go to the far left and just move that one dial…and all of the other levers seem to move with it.” — Matthew Walker

A hidden blockbuster drug for Alzheimer’s disease?

How, you might ask, can a company withhold information about a drug that could potentially prevent such a devastating disease?

#52 – Ethan Weiss, M.D.: A masterclass in cardiovascular disease and growth hormone – two topics that are surprising interrelated

“Primary prevention is still very much art and not science and probably will be for our lifetime so we’ll have to get used to that.” —Ethan Weiss

#51 – Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.: The pervasive effect of stress – is it killing you?

“The [stress response] system has been serving vertebrates, doing a lot of help for them for an awful long time, and it’s only been a very recent modification to instead secrete [cortisol] in response to thinking about taxes.” —Robert Sapolsky

#47 – Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part I of III: Dangers of poor sleep, Alzheimer’s risk, mental health, memory consolidation, and more

“I think that sleep may be one of the most significant lifestyle factors that determines your risk ratio for Alzheimer’s disease.” — Matthew Walker

#42 – Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, Ph.D.: Controversial topic affecting all women—the role of hormone replacement therapy through menopause and beyond—the compelling case for long-term HRT and dispelling the myth that it causes breast cancer

“We welcome the criticism and the discussion, that way we will all learn. We don’t claim to have the final answer, but we think that this book [Estrogen Matters] represents an important step forward in empowering women and helping them live longer and live better.” —Avrum Bluming

#38 – Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, Ph.D.: Advancing Alzheimer’s disease treatment and prevention – is AD actually a vascular and metabolic disease?

“Everybody goes through this cognitive decline. . .this is a reality. . .but it is possible to intervene before you get into the limbic system problems. . . and that’s going to make the biggest difference.” —Francisco Gonzalez-Lima

A radical new approach to Alzheimer’s?

Perhaps a bigger takeaway from this article is the approach this particular group takes: a consortium from different fields converging on the problem is likely the right way to address a problem as daunting as Alzheimer’s disease.

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