From the research I've been following, the toxic metals in general seem to be involved in the oxidation of cell membrane fatty acids, which is apparently involved in the development of amyloid beta, or brain plaque. One of many well-substantiated findings on Turmeric is its ability to scavenge for, and bind to, lead, free iron, cadmium and perhaps others.
Here's a link to research suggesting the benefits of alpha lipoic acid in the prevention of Alzheimer's:
And here are some other research links re: Alzheimer's treatment that look promising but require more study.
This choline derivative is known on the market as Alpha GPC; it is expensive, but if you know a medical practitioner, such as an acupuncturist or licensed naturopath who will order it and sell it to you wholesale, the price isn't prohibitive. And as with anything bought over the counter, consulting a physician friendly to alternative possibilities is important to rule out contraindications, especially for those on any prescribed medications.
And some good prelimary results with the herbs Lemon Balm and a form of Sage:
More research emerging about the importance of fish oil in preventing Alzheimer's disease:
For those who think you're getting adequate Omega 3 through vegetable oils, such as flax, the research seems to indicate that very little ALA is actually converted to DHA, which is the component of Omega 3 fatty acid that appears most involved in the protective effect. There may be a DHA product derived from a sea moss, for those who are vegetarian.
Moreover, an herb like the spice Turmeric seems to protect this long chain fatty acid from oxidizing.
A voice crying in the wilderness
Bring me my brain soup, and hurry with the ladel, you bitch!
A hum . . . Bromelain shown to degrade amyloid beta
More support for low dose Turmeric . . .
I'm taking it, I'm taking it!
Yes, it is redundant, but the research continues, and hopefully the Alzheimer's Association will begin recommending Turmeric like they do Ibuprophen, the herb being more effective, and with fewer side-effects.
Human clinical trial underway with turmeric as treatment for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's:
As the gene therapy approach attempts to address this disease, here is an article showing effectiveness of two Indian herbs traditionally used to prevent or slow cognitive decline:
These two herbs appear to increase production of acetycholine, which is essential for nerve growth; whereas Turmeric prevents and dissolves brain plaque.
Here's the link to the gene therapy study, where an attempt is made to increase acetylcholine. The animal model suggests the degree of plaque resolution to be lower than with the application of Turmeric, and being a viral vector, presenting potential serious side-effects:
Salvia officinalis, a species of sage used in Chinese herbal formulas to improve cardiac function, shows promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's:
Interestingly enough, Salvia is often combined with Turmeric for similar purposes.
I like Sage! Thanks, w.c. I'm hitting the Tumeric regularly.
Correlations between increased mid-section weight and dementia . . . . .
With the recent research showing an increased risk for all cancers related to a high fat diet, there seems to be a linkage between diseases via inflammation. Herbs, such as Turmeric, that inhibit lipid peroxidation, would appear an important way to limit these risks. Not suprisingly, Turmeric shows some potential in the research for both cancer prevention and prevention of Alzheimer's. The other aspect of risk that seems common in the west, especially the U.S. diet, is a disproportion of Omega 6 fatty acids, derived to a great extent from simple carbohydrates and saturated fats which are pro-inflammatory, and Omega 3 oils, primarily derived from fish, which are anti-inflammatory.
The caution with fish is that heavy metal contamination is so hard to control for, with farm raised fish having other risks because of bacterial infections due to over-crowding. The best alternative seems to be fish oil, but not all brands control for both toxic metals and the presence of peroxides, the latter a result of oxidation. Nordic Naturals and Eskimo 3 brands seem some of the best choices in this respect.
Risks of Tylenol . . . .
Research showing benefits of fish oil for children with learning disabilities:
More good news from the ongoing medical research on the herb Ashwagandha as a possible preventive and/or treatment for Alzheimer's disease:
Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;144(7):961-71. Related Articles, Links
Neuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction induced by withanolide A.
Kuboyama T, Tohda C, Komatsu K.
Research Center for Ethnomedicines, Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.
We investigated whether withanolide A (WL-A), isolated from the Indian herbal drug Ashwagandha (root of Withania somnifera), could regenerate neurites and reconstruct synapses in severely damaged neurons. We also investigated the effect of WL-A on memory-deficient mice showing neuronal atrophy and synaptic loss in the brain. Axons, dendrites, presynapses, and postsynapses were visualized by immunostaining for phosphorylated neurofilament-H (NF-H), microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), synaptophysin, and postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95), respectively. Treatment with A beta(25-35) (10 microM) induced axonal and dendritic atrophy, and pre- and postsynaptic loss in cultured rat cortical neurons. Subsequent treatment with WL-A (1 microM) induced significant regeneration of both axons and dendrites, in addition to the reconstruction of pre- and postsynapses in the neurons. WL-A (10 micromol kg(-1) day(-1), for 13 days, p.o.) recovered A beta(25-35)-induced memory deficit in mice. At that time, the decline of axons, dendrites, and synapses in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus was almost recovered. WL-A is therefore an important candidate for the therapeutic treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, as it is able to reconstruct neuronal networks.
I want to add that heredity plays an important part in who gets Alzheimers. If one or more deceased members of a family had it, the chances of the offspring being targeted is high. Preventive care helps to control it for awhile, but sooner or later it comes to the forefront. Couples who have Alzheimers within their families do need genetic counselling before they decide to have a child. This is good sound advice.
The usual notion of genetic influence in most diseases appears over-simplified, especially re: Alzheimer's disease. You may already know this, but it is important to point out, since studies currently underway show that even when genetic influence seems strong, dietary changes may still be promising in either prevention or treatment. Moreover, the field of epigenetics suggests that most "genetic" diseases have a significant environmental component, as gene expression, which controls for the production of proteins, is directly influenced by cellular environmental signalling. In fact, some research is even showing a cell-signalling influence in gene mutations.
We'll have to wait some years befor we know with any certainty how much of a window there is for intervention in this disease, but the known pathways of the disease, such as carbohydrate and phospholipid metabolism, as well as free radical formation and oxidative pathways, are all strongly influenced by nutritional factors. These appear to be the cell-signalling factors that affect the gene expression, which people tend to refer to as the genetic aspect of the disease, which appears, IOW, as inseperable from those cell-signalling factors.
UCLA medical school is about midway into a three year study testing the effects of the spice/herb turmeric for patients with early to mid-stage Alzheimer's. If you'll do a google search, type in PubMed, and then type in turmeric Alzheimer's, you'll see the wealth of research already completed. I've posted some of this throughout this thread. Turmeric has been shown to protect LDL from oxidation, increase the protective mechanism called heat shock protein, both protect against, and remove, amyloid-beta (plaque) from the brain, safely perform COX-2 inhibition (control the inflammatory process), and remove oxidizing lead, mercury and free iron from the blood.
As you probably know, turmeric is one of the spices in curries, which turns out to be significant, since families in rural India that eat curried foods several times a day have a very low incidence of dementia of all types.
My concern with the turmeric study is that it may turn out to show effectiveness, but not be as solid as it could be if other nutrients were included with the herb. But this is just the way research is typically carried out. Other nutrient factors that appear involved, based upon research, are Omega 3 oil from fish, regulation of acetylcholine (which the herb Ashwagandha, and some others, seems to enhance), phospholidalserine, phospholidalcholine, L-Carnitine, Coenzyme Q-10, and the herb Bacopa. There are many other candidates currently getting research attention.
One of the most misleading, and common, notions about gene influence is the obsolete paradigm of gene vs. environment that research often unfortunately still caters to in reporting to the media. The research of Michael Meaney probably goes as far as any in dispelling this myth. His studies show that environmental influences not only shape gene expression, but that this impact on the genes is retained for several generations. As such, what we see as "genetic" can often be the result of acquired environmental influences over generations.
" Other work that we have done with the twins shows that those who have a more intellectually engaged lifestyle earlier in their lives are those who are at reduced risk of dementia later."
And so your statement about the limits of preventive care is premature. Scientists are just into the early stages of researching nutrient-based interventions, and so how sustained the effects may be is still uknown.
w.c., thank you for your extensive research done on the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, and such valuable information that I was unaware of.
My late husband died from complications and deteriorations together with other physical ailments, and death was not solely attributed to his Alzheimer's disease, which was a blessing for me because I was truly worn out at the end of his life having given so much care and energy to him. Healthy individuals with Alzheimer's can continue with the disease for more than 30 years.
I cherished a book entitled the "24 hour day" which is like the bible for Alzheimer caregivers and their families. Please if you or someone you know is a caregiver, go and get this book. I cannot recall the author, but advise anyone who desires to buy it, call the local Alzheimer's Association and they will give you the author's name.
Alzheimer's can also run in pairs in families, which was the case within my late husband's family. His brother also died from complications and not solely from Alzheimer's disease. We are also seeing younger people being diagnosed with it than in the past.
It is one of the most devastating illnesses and I express the greatest compassion and love for anyone knowing an Alzheimer's patient or having a loved one being ravashed by same.
w.c. you are doing a great service in informing humanity on new findings on Alzheimer's, thank you again.
One final word of advice for caregivers. Don't be stoic and do it all alone. Get help. The Alzheimer's Association was most beneficial and I recommend their services highly.
What an experience that must be to care for a loved one for so long under such conditions. And yes, there is an increasingly number of younger people developing neurological disorders. One hopeful aspect in this statistic, however, is that the trend shows primarily an environmental causality, perhaps triggering genetic predispositions much earlier. A purely genetic explanation cannot account for this increase in dementia among pre-seniors over the past twenty years. Unfortunately, the dietary and nutritional benefits available to people are often not passed on by their physicians, most of whom still prescribe drug therapies at an increasing rate.
Here are some possibilities re: what might account for this increasing trend of neurological deterioration among young people:
1) increased saturated fat in the diet at an increasingly young age;
2) poor pre-natal nutrition among pregnant mothers;
3) increasing number of vaccinations, which may diminish the host immune response, decreasing its ability to manage inflammation;
4) more video games and other such distractions that decrease creative brain stimulation;
5) increasing use of daycare that interferes with the mother-child bond, decreasing emotional intelligence;
6) increasing number of drugs prescribed by doctors to patients much earlier in life;
7) increasingly sedentary lifestyle;
8) increasing stressor of single parenthood;
9) increasing focus in public schools on the abstract disciplines, with less and less attention on the arts;
10) forms of "leisure" are more stressful than in the past generations, with more stimulation than relaxation;
11) generally more prolonged stress levels with relief sought more in other forms of stress than leisure that soothes the nervous system.
Phil and others:
If you haven't already, check out the post above on the research findings of the herb Ashwagandha. Besides Turmeric's ability in animal models to prevent and dissolve amyloid-beta (plaque), Ashwagandha exhibits the ability to restore neural growth lost to plaque.
WC--thanks for all your knowledge here. Ashwagandha is a aphrodisiac, no? I remember that it wasn't suitable for my constituation (pitta), but it may be good for Kapha types. I have heat problems. Is it working for you?
You might check out Banyan Botanicals on a google search; they have mostly organic Ayurvedic herbs, with formulas balanced for all doshas. Ashwagandha is included in some of the formulas; it does aggravate pitta in excess, but is also calming and securing/nourishing, so with other herbs that reduce pitta is said to be ideal where nourishment is needed for low ojas but with accompanying pitta aggravation.
I only take small quantities of Ashwagandha and try to balance it with herbs like Shatavari, Passion Flower, Skullcap or with Chinese herbs given to me by a physician. Of course the Chinese system is its own thing, but with similar notions of balance, deficiency, excess, etc . . . .
A component of Green Tea shows promise, like Turmric, in protecting the brain from amyloid beta plaque accumulation; however, Green Tea itself apparently contains other active principles that limit this therapeutic effect, and so we'll have to wait for a supplement that is the product of isolating the favorable component. Furthermore, most Green Teas contain what some scientists believe are harmful levels of flouride. There are a few flouride-free Green Teas on the market.
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