Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is certainly not due to a lack of research. But recent discoveries that have proven themselves in mouse models may be the future hope for understanding and treating this mysterious disease that kills so many elderly people.
The one fact that everyone in various fields of neuroscience seems to agree on is that inflammation in the body causes inflammation in the brain, and the neurons in our brains do not function well under duress.
So how do we protect our brains?
Good and bad fats
“We have good and bad fats in our bodies, and the good ones are hugely protective of our brains,” said Nicholas Bazan, MD, director of the Center for Excellence in Neurosciences at LSU.
“In 2017, elovanoids (the good fats) were discovered, and we copied the way the brain made them and reintroduced these lipids into a petri dish with human neurons, to prove our theories.”
To prove how protective these fats were, mice were given the Alzheimer’s bad gene, known as APOE-e4. As Bazan said, within four to five months, their memories were in the abyss.
“But when we put the new lipid mediators in the noses of these mice, before giving them the bad gene, they didn’t lose memory and we protected brain diseases,” Bazin said.
Could a simple nasal spray protect our brains from Alzheimer’s disease? Primate studies have yet to be done, before clinical trials in humans, but the study is a step in the right direction.
At Ochsner, researchers are building databases to try to predict which younger people will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“We’re taking advantage of databases while we’re exploring for younger people who may have very mild symptoms,” said Emily Brickell, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Ochsner. “We are looking for subtle patterns using artificial intelligence. The faster we can spot people at risk, the sooner we can intervene.”
And at LSU, research may prove that just 30 mg per day of fiber in your diet will keep bad gut bacteria in check, by absorbing toxins that can travel to the brain.
Dr. Walter Lucio, professor of neuroscience at LSU, explains that, in the absence of fiber, Gram-negative bacteria in our gut turn into making lipopolysaccharides, which are dangerous toxins for the brain.
He believes that increasing soluble dietary fiber could be a game-changer in protecting the brain. Most Americans don’t even get half of the required average 30 mg.
knowledge is power
In Tulane, Dr. Dimitri Marganor, chief of neurology and director of the Healthy Brain Aging Initiative, believes that populations should be tested, because knowledge is power. Knowing your genetic profile can indicate your risk. For example, if neither parent has Alzheimer’s disease, your risk is only 10%. One parent with the disease increases your risk of developing the disease to 25%, and with two parents with Alzheimer’s, you inherit two copies of this gene, putting you at a 50% risk.
Because Dr. Maraganor firmly believes that gut health is essential to a healthy mind, he has committed to the Mediterranean diet for decades, for its high-fiber and nutrient-rich ingredients.
Now, a process that was used in the past for people with chronic diarrhea may be the future of treating poor gut health that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
We are talking about stool culture, which is already successfully used in digestive disorders, and can be used to treat dementia and stop its spread. There is a grant from the National Institutes of Health to harvest healthy gut waste.”
The hope is that if it works in primates, there may eventually be a pill that individuals can take to keep their microbiome in order.
We will solve the puzzle
Until such time as the research ends, doctors warn of quick fixes.
“You can’t turn on the TV without someone talking about over-the-counter treatments for cognitive failure,” said Dr. Ronald Fiore, MD, a neurologist at Colexia Neurological Clinic, part of LCMC at West Jefferson General Hospital.
These pills won’t kill anyone, but there’s no science behind them, and they’re very expensive. When treatment options are symbolic, people become desperate.”
But the search continues to find a cure and treatment.
“We split an atom,” said dementia teacher Carol Bailey, the defending champion. “I have no doubt that we will eventually solve the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease. In the meantime, we need to move forward in getting help to those who need it, and do everything we can to prevent it.”
Sidebar: Be part of the Pennington Clinical Trials Increase Fiber
Studies are underway at the Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention at the Pennington Biomedical Reseach Center in Baton Rouge. If you would like to participate in clinical trials, or even receive free cognitive tests via email, contact the Director, Jeffrey Keller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in genetic testing, DNA records like 23 and I can take the test with a saliva sample, says Dr. Dimitri Marganor of Tulane.
There is currently a blood test called Precivity that can detect signs that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. However, insurance isn’t covered yet, says Dr. Tiffany Liu, a neurologist at LSU in Lafayette.
On the horizon, Dr. Kevin Hargrave, MD, medical director of the Center for Neurosciences at Ochsner General in Lafayette, believes CRISPR technology will identify the disease.
“We will eventually be able to eliminate the bad genes, just as we do with the sickle cell gene.”
become vaccinated. Covid-19 has produced long-term after effects in many patients, says Gregory Bex, MD, director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Center at Tulane University School of Medicine.
Getting Covid increases inflammation, and in some cases has a lasting effect. There are now millions of people at risk of cognitive decline.”
Increase your fiber. For those who want to increase their fiber (24 grams for women, 38 grams for men) as a hedge against Alzheimer’s disease, among the foods to eat are these foods with 10 meters higher in fiber.
1) Chia seeds (34.4 grams per serving)
2) Popcorn (14.4)
3) Almonds (13.3)
4) dark chocolate (10.9)
5) Oats (10.1).
6) Peas (8.3)
7) Lentils (7.3)
8) chickpeas (7)
9) beans (6.8)
10) Avocado (6.7)