A Family Legacy of Alzheimer's

I was 14 years old when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. My aunt told us at our traditional family gathering after church on Sunday. I remember rushing home later to look up this mysterious disease in my new set of Encyclopedia Britannica that I had won recently in a spelling bee. What I learned was shocking and I still feel emotional remembering it. It was devastating to learn that she would eventually lose her personality and all her memories, and be unable to recognize her loved ones. I had never heard of such a bleak, depressing future. It was the first time I was confronted with the fact that there are some things that cannot be fixed, some diseases for which there is no cure.

From the experience of being involved with my grandmother's care, seeing her progress through AD and appreciating the importance of scientific research, I was inspired to become a neuroscientist. Even though I never did research on AD, I kept an eye on the latest research in the field. My relatives would often ask me about the latest. See, not only did my grandmother have AD, but also two of her sisters. So this legacy includes my extended family as well.

Sadly, more than 35 years later, there is still no medical cure or pharmaceutical treatment for AD. While I strongly believe that we should continue to support research efforts into these types of treatments, I also think we need to do what we can right now. Did you know that it takes on average 17 years before medicine catches up to the latest science? This means that a cure might come too late for many of us.

In the last few years, it has become clear that dementia and mild cognitive impairment can be reversed in some instances with lifestyle interventions that are available to us today. Many of these interventions are not as easy as taking a pill but they are accessible, so why not get started and do what we can to build healthy brain habits today? I am here to support you and help you sort it out.

Additional Resources:

Daniel G. Amen, MD and Tana Amen, BSN, RN, “The Brain Warrior’s Way”, 2016.

Bredesen DE, “Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program” Aging 6(9): 707-717, 2014. pubmed

Dale E. Bredesen, MD, “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline”, 2017.

Bredesen DE, Amos EC, Canick J, Ackerley M, Raji C, Fiala M, Ahdidan J. “Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease.” Aging 8(6): 1250-1258, 2016. pubmed.

Dean & Ayesha Sherzai, MD, “The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age”, 2017.


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