Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
This week I was reminded of Alzheimer’s Disease and wanted to give an update on treatments and prevention. As you may know it’s more common in women. Both my mother and grandmother died of Alzheimer’s Dementia.
Note: for reference Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia.
Women have Alzheimer’s Dementia 4:1 over men, and it’s not just because they live longer.
Women are more predisposed to it mainly because of hormones.
As I write this Note I’m at a pickleball tournament which is ironic, because I’m starting to see pickleball as a tool that can be particularly useful in preventing Alzheimer’s. I will tell you why later on in this Note.
For now, let’s dive into the current state of treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease!
ADHD and Alzheimer’s Disease
We treat a lot of Adult ADHD in our clinics. There was a study out of Sweden that looked at around 2 million individuals and 5 million relatives of kids who have ADHD.
The study found that there was a significant increase in the amount of Dementia (particularly Alzheimer’s) in parents and first degree relatives of kids that had ADHD.
We know ADHD runs in families. It’s very familial, meaning there are a lot of genetic components to it.
Based on the study, it turned out there was an association for an increase in risk of dementia in people that had ADHD. The significance of this study we don’t know yet. But it is something to note.
I will tell you that I have treated some dementia patients with low dose stimulants, and it does seem to help. You have to know what you’re doing.
Another thing to note is that in kids with ADHD, you need to look at their airways and tonsils. Same thing for adults with ADHD. Also, you should check for sleep apnea. Both conditions have shown to increase the incidence of ADHD.
New Drug For Alzheimer’s Disease Becomes FDA Approved
There’s a new drug that’s been approved by the FDA for Alzheimer’s. It’s called Aducanumab.
It’s actually a monoclonal antibody.
Aducanumab is another drug that reduces amyloid plaque in the brain. The problem is that it hasn’t proven to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s. Over years of research what we’ve learned is that amyloid plaque isn’t what causes Alzheimer’s.
Amyloid plaque is actually the brain trying to protect itself against inflammation.
If you want to get to the root cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, getting rid of this isn’t the answer.
This new drug barely passed through the FDA, and is outlandishly expensive (about $56K a year for a medicine that probably doesn’t work).
Here are two other drugs for Alzheimer’s that haven’t proven to work:
Neither one of these has shown to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Bredesen’s Protocol
Before taking medications like the ones above, I would literally try to do everything else.
One thing I’ve consistently gone back to over the last several years is a protocol called “RECODE” by Dr. Dale Bredesen out of UCLA.
Dr. Bredesen is also the author of the book “The End Of Alzheimer’s”.
One thing (among many things) that stood out to me in this book was the number of different causes of Alzheimer’s. So far 33 have been identified.
According to the book, it goes back to lifestyle. We always want to go back to PREVENTION, especially when it comes to neurodegeneration of the brain.
There have been documented cases of patients reversing Alzheimer’s (almost entirely) for a period of a few years with his protocol.
What does he recommend?
- Hormonal evaluation and treatment
- Eat a low glycemic diet
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (low grains, low sugar)
- Intermittent fasting
- Take supplements that help (Especially Vitamin D, Omega 3’s, and Turmeric)
- Eat more good fats (Keto is certainly helpful)
- Keep stress levels down
- Get good sleep
In my opinion, EXERCISE is the number one thing you can do for your health.
I’ll go back to the beginning of this note. I’m at a pickleball tournament and what I am seeing is that anyone can play! It’s moderate exercise, which I recommend. The scoring is unique so you have to focus.
Everyone has heard that ping pong can be great for Alzheimer’s prevention (which it is), but think about playing Pickleball for the same reason!
With pickleball you get more exercise!
It’s fun and can be great for your overall health.