understanding Alzheimer's Diseae Essay

Submitted By dumired
Words: 1106
Pages: 5

David Dumire
20 April 2015
Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Despite thirty plus years of intense research, medical professional opinions continue to differ concerning the best strategies for the treatment and prevention of the deadly and debilitating disease known as Alzheimer’s disease, or AD. Although we have always known that Alzheimer’s disease is typically associated with numerous tangles and plaque in the brain, the exact cause of these abnormalities has remained elusive. Now, we may be closer to an answer. Research conducted at the Neuroscience Research Center, in Indianapolis Indiana, has in fact shown that AD is a brain version of diabetes (27). Establishing this relationship between AD and insulin resistance has opened the door to a new perspective and has redirected research and studies which now focus more on the prevention of AD. Experts from the University of California, San Francisco, said that over 50% of all Alzheimer’s cases may be prevented through lifestyle change (Segal 206). With these findings comes a clear understanding, there are certain preventative measures which can be taken to drastically lower the probability of developing this incapacitating and fatal disease. First, by adhering to a healthier Mediterranean diet and choosing organic foods over processed ones, we can lower our exposure to certain harmful preservatives; specifically nitrosamines. Typically, a Mediterranean diet consists of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and one which contains olive oil as the main source of fat. The elimination of local farms in favor of “mega farms” requires transport of our food from long distances. To preserve flavor and color during transportation, nitrosamines are commonly used. They also contaminate many processed foods, including fish, cheese, hot dogs, ground beef, and smoked meats such as bacon, smoked turkey or ham. However, nitrosamines are well recognized cancer causing agents and are one of the main toxins in tobacco. A study performed by Canadian scientist Dr. Kenneth Rockwell and explained in the Journal of Neurology, shows “low, chronic exposure to nitrosamines (the type found in food), indeed cause Alzheimer’s type brain degeneration, dementia, fatty liver disease, and diabetes.” (118-21) All of these major diseases relate to insulin resistance, which are now epidemic in the United States. Choosing organic, non-processed foods as a healthy alternative is ideal. While that’s not necessarily always an option, we can protect ourselves by searching food labels for added sodium nitrate and steering clear of those items. A larger step that can be taken is to push policies that return farming back to the local level. By doing this we can gain control over how food is produced while simultaneously eliminating the need for added toxic preservatives. Next, being vigil about our weight and exercising regularly can be exponentially beneficial as well. According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, Physical exercise reduces the risk of developing AD by as much as 50%. In addition to preventing AD, regular exercise has also been shown to slow further deterioration in those that have already started to develop cognitive problems. Ideally, we should aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, five times per week. This could include walking, swimming, or any activity which elevates the heart rate. Weight and resistance training is also very important in maintaining brain health. “Combining aerobics and weight training is better than either exercise alone”, says Dr. Kathy Keyvani of the University of South Florida (118). “For those ages 65 and over, adding 2-3 strength sessions to your weekly aerobic routine may further cut your risk of Alzheimer’s by 50%” (118-9). Developing such an exercise regimen can be tough and often intimidating; stick with it! It takes 28 days for a new routine to become habit. Once you’re over this hump, keeping up on your