Who, if given a choice would not pick having a sound mind rather than Alzheimer’s??…and yet Americans are unwittingly choosing Alzheimer’s everyday by their lifestyle & decisions! Is this what you want? Of course not, so please enjoy this post, and don’t be scared by its technical terms…just plow on through them & get the gist of what is being said.
BAD MECHANISMS WE ALL FACE. Solid research has revealed how most people’s brains begin to deteriorate in their late teens largely due to our American lifestyle! Now some people avoid some of these factors, & also have genetics that give them advantages in facing them…they are the ones who still have clear minds like the 98 yr. old Christian lady I recently visited. But even people like this lady will face brain deterioration; the mechanics of how it happens are known (not that everything is known—a lot more can be learned), plus how to protect & save our brains is also established by medical research. However, even though these things have been researched & established years ago, there is a dismal level of understanding by the public as well as by many medical people. For example, I recently mentioned some of this to a pharmacist & he refused to accept it!
PURPOSE OF THIS TWO PART POST. This post is an important warning to wake people up to the fact that the mechanisms to destroy our brains are already at work in all of us, but we all can stop this degeneration or significantly slow it down. (This post is based on Jeff Victoroff’s book “Saving Your Brain”(A), which in turn is based on thousands of research projects.)
“ALZHEIMER’S” & OTHER SIMILAR POPULAR MEDICAL TERMS ARE FALSE LABELS! The label “Alzheimer’s” is a deeply flawed, fuzzy label that should be discarded & replaced with a far more accurate term, because it & similar labels like Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD) & Parkinson’s disease (PD) in reality overlap in having the same bad mechanisms/factors & in reality are not separate “diseases” but different flavors of the same set of bad mechanisms that we all face. Calling them diseases hides the fact we all deal with these mechanisms. In fact, the label “Alzheimer’s” is an arbitrary made-up definition, created by 2 conferences of experts in 1984 & 1985, which uses arbitrary “age-adjusted plague scores” to define “Alzheimer’s”. Let me explain this; a 76 yr. old woman with 16 plaques is said to definitely to have Alzheimer’s, but if she has 15, she doesn’t have it. This is like declaring: “Animals over 15 lbs. are dogs, & under 15 are cats.” It gives a false picture of what is going on, & how to treat it. We think that when it is diagnosed as a disease then it should be treated…when in fact, the mechanisms should have been treated from our teenage years before they destroyed the brain.
BAD MECHANISMS. These bad mechanisms include protein misfolds in the brain, brain plagues, dead neurons, & energy deprivation to the brain (i.e. energy deprivation=glucose &/or oxygen not reaching brain cells to fuel them). Each of us have different genetics & different environments so each of us face our own road to travel on. Some people, myself included, have genetics that assist these bad mechanisms. Some of us have personalities that enhance these bad mechanisms. (More on this in Part 2, where we will see that the teachings of Christ, “the Way” as it was originally called, are designed to protect the brain! & give us the abundant life Christ came to give us.) Some of us work in toxic jobs that are hard on brains.
BETTER TERMS. “Aging-related neurodegeneration” (ARN) is a better term for the various mechanisms that attack everyone’s brains. This can be narrowed down by using the term “Aging-related neurodegeneration of the Alzheimer’s type” (ARNAT). Both ARN & ARNAT are a common part of everyday life for all of us. They are caused by dozens of common factors, many of which are triggered by the common American lifestyle. While Americans (via the mass media) often focus on external problems…this rotting of our brains is a far greater threat than any external problem. Some of us have ARN & ARNAT more than others…yet these bad mechanisms are at work in all of us. Depending on the rate & mix of these common mechanisms, they will exhibit themselves differently & receive different labels: mostly misfolded taus with plagues & tangles means a noticeable memory loss…if you have mostly misfolded taus you may appear to have FTLD…if instead you have mostly misfolded alpha-synuclein, you may appear to have “Parkinson’s”…and a mix of misfolded proteins may be labeled DLB. ARNAT overlaps with Cerebral vascular compromise (CVC); they work together. Therefore both should be dealt with together.
TRIGGERS THAT CAUSE BAD MECHANISMS. Let’s look at some very helpful truths! What are we including in our lives that destroy our brains?? For starters, STRESS. When we face stress the first wave of release is adrenaline. The second wave is GCs (cortisol, hydrocortisone & corticosterone). High levels of GCs damage memory by destroying synapsis, causes atrophy of dendrites & brings neurons to suicide! Jobs which make high psych demands but give the worker no control over decisions cuase stress. Stress chews away at the brain, and will measurably shrink the temporal lobes of the brain. Besides stress, PTSD, depression, anxiety, anger & low self-esteem have been shown to destroy the brain. Externally, neuro toxins, solvents, pesticides and chemicals also destroy the brain. A bad example of a workplace that had these was Skunk Works (named for its bad smells). If we take in heavy metals (for instance: arsenic, aluminum, lead, mercury, zinc & others) and they cross the blood-brain barrier, then we injure the brain. Public drinking water & well water often contains dangers…in spite of the testing that is done to make them safe. The final factor I want to mention is diabetes. It prevents the brain from protecting itself from misfolds & causes misfolded proteins. Diabetes is not a guarantee of Alzheimer’s, it merely doubles your risk. Along this line, minor problems of glucose handling in the body (like pre-diabetes & hypoglycaemia) are associated w/ cognitive impairment also.
NEXT INSTALLMENT. In part 2 we will look at things we can do to prevent & delay the onset of problems. Have a good day my friend. May we make good choices for life.
REFERENCE. (A) Victoroff, Jeff. Saving Your Brain. Bantam Books: NY, NY, 2002.