Category Archives: Dementia

Avoid Soybean Oil (if you’re a male mouse)

Soybean oil seems to be a real problem for male mice. We need more research in humans before declaring it a dangerous toxin to us. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, you’ll find it hard if not impossible to avoid.

From EurekAlert:

New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.

Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.

Source: America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain | EurekAlert! Science News

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

Can a Healthy Lifestyle Offset Your Genetic Risk for Dementia?

Yes, according to a study I found at JAMA Network.

The research was done in the UK and involved over 500,000 older adults of European ancestry, free of dementia and cognitive impairment at baseline.

So what are the healthy lifestyle characteristics linked to lower risk of dementia, whether you have genetic risk or not?

  • Physical activity
  • Not smoking
  • Healthy diet
  • Judicious alcohol consumption

Lifestyle details from the research report:

A healthy lifestyle score was constructed based on 4 well-established dementia risk factors (smoking status, physical activity, diet, and alcohol consumption) assessed at baseline using a touchscreen questionnaire. Participants scored 1 point for each of 4 healthy behaviors defined on the basis of national recommendations (full details in eTable 1 in Supplement 1). Smoking status was categorized as current or no current smoking. Regular physical activity was defined as meeting the American Heart Association recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (or an equivalent combination) or engaging in moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week or vigorous activity once a week. Healthy diet was based on consumption of at least 4 of 7 commonly eaten food groups following recommendations on dietary priorities for cardiometabolic health, which are linked to better late-life cognition and reduced dementia risk. Previous studies of alcohol consumption and dementia risk support a U-shaped relationship, with moderate consumption associated with lower risk. Therefore, moderate consumption was defined as 0 to 14 g/d for women and 0 to 28 g/d for men, with the maximum limit reflecting US dietary guidelines.

Source: Association of Lifestyle and Genetic Risk With Incidence of Dementia | Dementia and Cognitive Impairment | JAMA | JAMA Network

What do they consider a healthy dementia-preventing diet? At least four of the following food groups and consumption levels:

  • Fruits: 3 or more servings a day
  • Veggies: 3 or more servings a day
  • Fish: 2 or more servings a week
  • Processed meats: no more than 1 serving a week
  • Unprocessed red meats: no more than 1.5 servings a week
  • Whole grains: 3 or more servings a day
  • Refined grains: no more than 1.5 servings a day

Regarding alcohol, the guideline is no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two a day for men. Do a web search for standard drink sizes if needed. “One drink” is 14 grams of pure alcohol.

This stuff is good to know if dementia runs in your family.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Guess what else prevents dementia…the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

Moderate Wine Consumption May Prevent Dementia

…according to an article at Revue Neurologique:

The inverse relationship between moderate wine drinking and incident dementia was explained neither by known predictors of dementia nor by medical, psychological or socio-familial factors. Considering also the well documented negative associations between moderate wine consumption and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in this age group, it seems that there is no medical rationale to advise people over 65 to quit drinking wine moderately, as this habit carries no specific risk and may even be of some benefit for their health. Advising all elderly people to drink wine regularly for prevention of dementia would be however premature at this stage.

But: alcohol is linked to higher risk of breast cancer

Source: Wine consumption and dementia in the elderly: a prospective community study in the Bordeaux area. – PubMed – NCBI

“Moderate wine consumption” typically more than 1 glass a day for women, no more then two for men.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

The Right Workout Routine Helps Fight Dementia

Steve Parker MD

A slow leisurely pace won’t cut it

Dementia is a devastating and expensive development for an individual and his family. Most dementias are progressive and incurable. If it can be prevented, it should be. Exercise is one preventative. But how much and what kind of exercise?

Nine percent of U.S. adults over 65 have dementia. That’s 3.650,000 folks.

From The Globe and Mail:

In 2017, a team led by the lab’s director, Jennifer Heisz, published a five-year study of more than 1,600 adults older than 65 that concluded that genetics and exercise habits contribute roughly equally to the risk of eventually developing dementia. Only one of those two factors is under your control, so researchers around the world have been striving to pin down exactly what sort of workout routine will best nourish your neurons.

Heisz’s latest study, published last month in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, offers a tentative answer to this much-debated question. Older adults who sweated through 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training improved their performance on a memory test by 30 per cent compared with those who did a more moderate exercise routine.

This was a small study, only about 20 sedentary participants (all over 60 years old) subjected to one of three protocols for twelve weeks, exercising thrice weekly:

  1. Four-minute bouts of vigorous treadmill walking at 90-95% of maximum heart rate, repeated four times, with three minutes easy walking between the high-intensity spells intervals (HIIT)
  2. Walking at 70-75% of max heart rate for 47 minutes (burning the same number of calories as group #1
  3. Thirty minutes of relaxed stretching

Alex Hutchinson’s full article is well worth a couple minutes of your time if you want to avoid dementia.

Source: New study shows the right workout routine can help fight dementia – The Globe and Mail

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Wanna know something else that prevent dementia? The Mediterranean diet!

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

A practical guide to the Mediterranean diet – From Harvard

There are myriad reasons the traditional Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets. From Harvard Medical Publishing, an article written by a Registered Dietitian:

The Mediterranean diet has received much attention as a healthy way to eat, and with good reason. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers, depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function. In January [2019], US News and World Report named it the “best diet overall” for the second year running.

Source: A practical guide to the Mediterranean diet – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

Ready to get started? Click the link above.

Ready to lose weight and start a fitness program, too? Click the pic below.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

 

Is Rapamycin the Holy Grail of Anti-Aging Medicine?

MRI of brain

Rapamycin may prevent chronic age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. From P.D. Mangan who interviewed Alan S. Greeen, M.D., prescriber and user of the drug himself:

For many informed observers of anti-aging science and practice, rapamycin appears to be one of the most promising anti-aging treatments currently available. Originally (and still) used as an immunosuppressant for transplant patients, it’s been found to increase lifespan in lab animals.

Side effects of rapamycin are a problem, but it’s since been found that a transient (3-month) treatment with rapamycin can extend life expectancy up to 60%. More studies are needed to determine the dosing regimen with maximal efficacy and minimal side effects. Intermittent dosing at once every 5 days also extends lifespan in mice, and this “demonstrates that the anti-aging potential of rapamycin is separable from many of its negative side effects and suggests that carefully designed dosing regimens may permit the safer use of rapamycin and its analogs for the treatment of age-related diseases in humans. ” Note also that this dosing regimen wasn’t started until the mice were quite old, at 20 months, and it still extended lifespan.

The principal mechanism of action of rapamycin is the inhibition of the cellular nutrient sensor and growth regulator mTOR. In elderly humans, weekly dosing of an mTOR inhibitor (not rapamycin) increased immune function as measured by response to a flu vaccine.

Given all of this, rapamycin as it relates to the slowing or reversal of aging, is still an experimental drug. However, we will be waiting a long time, perhaps forever, for the FDA to approve rapamycin for anti-aging, and since it’s a generic drug, there’s little incentive for drug companies to pursue clinical trials. Meanwhile, many people have begun to realize that they could be dead before this treatment becomes recognized – again, if ever.

Source: Rapamycin Anti-Aging Medicine: An Update with Alan S. Green, M.D. – Rogue Health and Fitness

Mangan’s site is a trove of anti-aging strategies.

Steve Parker, MD.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com

Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment in Alzheimer’s Disease: Cognitive Enhancement and Associated Changes in Cerebrospinal Fluid, Blood, and Brain Imaging 

A) A MemorEMTM head device being worn by a subject. B) Position of the eight electromagnetic emitters embedded between the device’s two-layered head cap. Emitters collectively provide global forebrain TEMT via rapid sequential emitter activation.

This is from the cited journal article. I hope this is considered fair use rather than copyright infringement.

This is the most creative therapeutic approach to Alzheimer’s Disease I’ve seen in a while. It may even be preventative. I have no idea whether it will pan out in the long run. I’m always skeptical.

Click for a Scientific American article that discusses a different experimental protocol and probably different device.

Abstract

Background: Small aggregates (oligomers) of the toxic proteins amyloid-β (Aβ) and phospho-tau (p-tau) are essential contributors to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In mouse models for AD or human AD brain extracts, Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment (TEMT) disaggregates both Aβ and p-tau oligomers, and induces brain mitochondrial enhancement. These apparent “disease-modifying” actions of TEMT both prevent and reverse memory impairment in AD transgenic mice.

Objective: To evaluate the safety and initial clinical efficacy of TEMT against AD, a comprehensive open-label clinical trial was performed.

Methods: Eight mild/moderate AD patients were treated with TEMT in-home by their caregivers for 2 months utilizing a unique head device. TEMT was given for two 1-hour periods each day, with subjects primarily evaluated at baseline, end-of-treatment, and 2 weeks following treatment completion.

Results: No deleterious behavioral effects, discomfort, or physiologic changes resulted from 2 months of TEMT, as well as no evidence of tumor or microhemorrhage induction. TEMT induced clinically important and statistically significant improvements in ADAS-cog, as well as in the Rey AVLT. TEMT also produced increases in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of soluble Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42, cognition-related changes in CSF oligomeric Aβ, a decreased CSF p-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio, and reduced levels of oligomeric Aβ in plasma. Pre- versus post-treatment FDG-PET brain scans revealed stable cerebral glucose utilization, with several subjects exhibiting enhanced glucose utilization. Evaluation of diffusion tensor imaging (fractional anisotropy) scans in individual subjects provided support for TEMT-induced increases in functional connectivity within the cognitively-important cingulate cortex/cingulum.

Conclusion: TEMT administration to AD subjects appears to be safe, while providing cognitive enhancement, changes to CSF/blood AD markers, and evidence of stable/enhanced brain connectivity.

Source: A Clinical Trial of Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment in Alzheimer’s Disease: Cognitive Enhancement and Associated Changes in Cerebrospinal Fluid, Blood, and Brain Imaging – IOS Press

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I notice that several of the study authors are based in my area of operations, south-central Arizona.

PPS: The Mediterranean diet for years has been linked to lower risk of dementia.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com

If Gut Bacteria Cause Alzheimer’s Dementia, What If You Alter Those Bacteria?

The short answer? We don’t know the answer to either of those questions.

Low-carb salad

The gut bacteria (aka microbiome) seem to be able to decrease or increase inflammation that could cause or exacerbate Alzheimer’s dementia. The  microbiome’s effect on inflammation depends on the species of bacteria present, and the amount of those bacteria. At least one study found that Alzheimer’s patients have a greater abundance of the pro-inflammatory species and less of the anti-inflammatory species, compared to other folks.

Researchers with Wake Forest School of Medicine tried to find answers to the questions in the title of this post. (Click for full text.) They studied 17 experimental subjects, average age 64, who had mild cognitive impairment (11) or “cogni/subjective memory complaints” (6). God bless them for submitting to three spinal taps apiece. The experimental diets were 1) Mediterranean-Ketogenic (under 20 g carb/day), or 2) Low-fat American Heart Association diet (under 40 g fat/day). Participants were on each diet for six weeks.

The investigators didn’t find anything useful for those of us trying today to avoid Alzheimer’s or prevent the progression of mild cognitive impairment to dementia. Their bottom line is, “The data suggest that specific gut microbial signatures may depict [characterize] the mild cognitive impairment and that the modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet can modulate the gut microbiome and metabolites in association with improved Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid.”

So we won’t know for several more years, if ever, whether intentional modification of diet will “improve” our gut microbiomes, leading to lower risk of dementia.

What we have known for many year, however, is that the traditional Mediterranean diet is linked to lower risk of Alzhiemer’s dementia.

For more details, see Science Daily:

In a small pilot study, the researchers identified several distinct gut microbiome signatures — the chemicals produced by bacteria — in study participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but not in their counterparts with normal cognition, and found that these bacterial signatures correlated with higher levels of markers of Alzheimer’s disease in the cerebrospinal fluid of the participants with MCI.

Through cross-group dietary intervention, the study also showed that a modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet produced changes in the gut microbiome and its metabolites that correlated with reduced levels of Alzheimer’s markers in the members of both study groups.

Source: Diet’s effect on gut bacteria could play role in reducing Alzheimer’s risk — ScienceDaily

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diets in one book, including the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase the world’s first practical ketogenic Mediterranean diet at Amazon.com

 

Association of Intensive vs Standard Blood Pressure Control With Brain Small Vessel Ischemic Disease

Not good enough

Aiming for systolic blood pressure of 120 or less (instead of 140) may reduce the risk of age-related brain impairment. A recent study suggests the mechanism is better brain blood flow.

The 2017 guidelines from the American College of Cardiology recommend a BP treatment goal of under 130/80.

Ischemia means poor or no blood flow.

Small vessel ischemic disease (SVID in the brain) is something I see so often on CT scans of 70-year-olds that I usually ignore it. Mind you, I’m a hospitalist and usually looking for acute major strokes, brain tumors, and bleeding on CT scans. SVID is a chronic disease and it’s often difficult to say how long a specific lesion has been present and whether it’s causing symptoms. Ischemia in the brain is linked to impaired cognitive functioning and dementia. On the other hand, some brain ischemic lesions don’t seem to cause any detectable impairment.

From JAMA Network:

Question:  Is intensive blood pressure treatment associated with less progression of small vessel ischemic disease, as reflected by cerebral white matter lesion volume?

Findings:  In this substudy of a randomized clinical trial of 449 hypertensive patients with longitudinal brain magnetic resonance imaging, intensive blood pressure management to a target of less than 120 mm Hg, vs less than 140 mm Hg, was associated with a smaller increase in white matter lesion volume (0.92 cm3 vs 1.45 cm3).

Meaning:  More intensive blood pressure management was associated with less progression of cerebral small vessel ischemic disease, although the difference was small.

Source: Association of Intensive vs Standard Blood Pressure Control With Cerebral White Matter Lesions | Dementia and Cognitive Impairment | JAMA | JAMA Network

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: The Mediterranean diet also reduces dementia and cognitive impairment.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com

 

Mediterranean Diet Helps Preserve Brain Function in Type 2 Diabetes

MRI scan of brain

From Practice Update:

CONCLUSIONS

Both adhering to a Mediterranean diet and effectively managing type 2 diabetes may support optimal cognitive function. Healthy diets, in general, can help improve memory function among adults without type 2 diabetes.

Source: The Mediterranean Diet and 2-Year Change in Cognitive Function by Status of Type 2 Diabetes and Glycemic Control

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: What else preserves brain function? The Mediterranean diet, for one.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com