As the American population ages and the peak of the baby boomer generation move into their 70s, there has been a huge increase in the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, there is a growing body of research into cause, early diagnosis and treatment, that shows great promise.
Recently, the New York Times reported on research indicating that sharp, prolonged changes in mood or behavior may be “A New Harbinger of Alzheimer’s,” possibly predictive of the memory loss and cognitive impairment that we customarily associate with the disease. Since early diagnosis and treatment remain the most effective strategies in limiting progression, any advance warning signs should be taken seriously.
There has even been some indication that Alzheimer’s may be reversible in a small percentage of those diagnosed. In a recent newsletter, Dr. David Perlmutter wrote about a treatment regimen conducted by Dale Bredeson, at the Buck Institute, that includes “reducing blood sugar, increasing physical exercise, lowering homocysteine, optimizing vitamin D and regulating hormones, all of which helped to pave the way for Alzheimer’s patients to regain cognitive function.”
New drugs are constantly being developed, with varying degrees of success. There is also some indication that the cannabis compounds in marijuana may help to protect those brain cells commonly attacked by the disease. Other research suggests that light therapy may help patients to regain lost memories. There is also some indication that the relaxing and repetitive movements of qigong may reverse some dementia (video). A great resource is Peggy Sarlin’s “Awakening from Alzheimers,” (newly updated for 2016) in which she has compiled research, doctor interviews, natural and holistic treatments and more. She also has DVDs available covering this material. Faced with the certainty that incidences of Alzheimers are going to skyrocket over the next decade as boomers age up, researchers are exploring every possibility.