Tuesday, March 5, 2013
ALZHEIMER'S CAN BE DETECTED EARLY
Over the years I've posted several times on Alzheimer's disease, an ailment that progresses slowly at first, then ultimately will kill you. In particular, I found it disconcerting that diacetyl, a natural chemical from fermentation and in dairy products, appears to stimulate the onset of dementia. Diacetyl is found in buttered popcorn, chardonnay wine, scotch and margarine, which gives it the butter flavor. Amazingly enough, virgin coconut oil might neutralize the effect of this molecule. Hmm...scotch and coconut water.
Early treatment can delay the degradation of an Alzheimer's patient, but until recently, detection only came when you showed symptoms. Rapamycin seems to check neurodegenerative collapse, but works best in the very early stages only. There are now two studies indicating that early disclosure is showing promise.
1. Blood tests and brain scans helped to predict the incursion of Alzheimer's for those with a special gene mutation. This finding should someday lead to using this technique for others.
2. A more promising method for early diagnosis is a simple eye test that correlates retinal damage to Alzheimer's. Most see an eye doctor annually, and a few added seconds here are all it will take. This bit of information will enable prediction of the onset 20 years before it happens. All current experiments have been on animals, but human trials are beginning. While I'm at this, some interesting medical data indicate that statins (taken for lowering cholesterol) might cut the risk of cataracts by 40%.
There are insurance fears and subsequent employment implications, but it will then only be a matter of time before amyloid plaque buildup in the brain, the physical cause of Alzheimer's, can also be prevented. In the meantime, indulge in Indian spices, for curcumin, found in turmeric, used in curry dishes, has been touted to reduce Alzheimer's symptoms by 30%.