Many studies show that Alzheimer’s Disease is largely preventable by lifestyle factors.
Here is a good, evidence-based web site with a free cognitive function test and lots of good personally-tailored lifestyle advice. I need to up my social interactions and B vitamin intake. Fortunately, my cognitive function is good.
SAGE is another good cognitive function test but without all the good advice.
Alzheimer’s Disease has immense Macroeconomic significance.
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
More than 6.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to surpass 13.8 million by 2060
More than 11 million American caregivers provide over 15.3 billion hours of unpaid care
Test yourself…and adjust your lifestyle to minimize your risk.
Just getting signed up and registered to take the test is a test of your cognitive function. Yes, if starting from scratch you have to click the same button multiple times before you actually get to the test.
At least I think that’s what I did. It sure felt like it, but perhaps it was just a sense of deja vu.
My cognitive function was above average for my age, which is good. Lot’s of risk factors, though. Yes, I know I need to get up and move more. Didn’t need a test for that.
They sure seemed interested in B complex vitamins. Lots of questions about various supplements, which I’m not going to take. Much cheaper to just eat the right foods.
My risk was allegedly very low and cognitive function above average. The few risk factors that I have are related to the supplements, and what this site apparently deems to be important…but that quite a few threads on this site (among others) have cited pretty robust evidence that questions the hyper supplementation that I imagine would put me close to zero.
Additionally, there were a good many questions involving medical issues that, although quite strongly linked to poor lifestyle choices and plain ole Bad Habits, actually do have a strong genetic component (thinking about my own newly diagnosed familial hypercholesterolemia/coronary artery disease) So, although there are vast numbers of folk who are or have been eating and sitting their way into a high risk category andshouldn’t be ignored, that fact doesn’t negate the strong genetic component…whether it’s direct history or via indirect but real risk factors.
So, I’m wondering how it might affect my overall score and the brilliance of imagined Health Halo if it were possible to go in and hack the questions (not the results of the puzzles)
I have a strong suspicion that upping the claimed doses of supplements by what’s likely to be a trivial amount but lowering the claim3d time spent in exercise and getting out and about/general non volitional exercise/NEAT to an extent that can be demonstrated to have a negative impact on cardiometabolic health might well have my risk factors either the same…even lower!
Simply reading the Consumer Reports car issue should explain most of this. I am the humble owner of a fine car built in 2001 which has a bit over 100K miles on it. I regularly change oil and have done the normal maintenance (timing belt/water pump, spark plugs, etc.). It was virtually trouble free until the 100K mark, but the fuel economy is getting somewhat lower and there are a couple of sounds I have to check out. I chose the car based, in large part, on the long-term customer satisfaction and low maintenance costs of the brand (Lexus).
Other cars seem to have “family-related” issues from the day they were purchased (A 1972 +/- VW “Rabbit” (Golf) I owned comes to mind), some cars are poorly maintained by their owners, some owners pour supplements into the gas tank which may - or may not - be beneficial and so on.
(Who incidentally thinks of his doctors as auto mechanics and reacts to the attitudes some present in the same fashion I would to any technician who acted that way. There are very few of them who can’t be easily swapped for another with parallel training. It’s important for both parties to understand that I am their customer)
There are very few of them who can’t be easily swapped for another with parallel training
If you believe this, you might ponder whether you’re taking the best care of either your body or your car.
It’s important for both parties to understand that I am their customer
Maybe…but only in the superficial things. I’d be unable to “diagnose” a complex problem with with either of my motors (2 legs or 4 wheels) and I want someone who’s more concerned with doing that job right than pandering to what my ideas of customer service. Of course, the two aren’t mutually exclusive but, as a dentist married to a physician, I can see all too clearly an overconfidence in judging standards of care based on an individual’s knowledge base. I’m sure auto mechanics would say the same.
There are very few of them who can’t be easily swapped for another with parallel training. It’s important for both parties to understand that I am their customer)
Neither of those things are true. If you persist you will only get a hack who tells you want you want to hear. That will allow you to kill yourself prematurely. Or if you put in the research you might save yourself as one or two things arise, but there will be more than one or two things that arise. You will not be relating well to any decent doctors. They will also fire you.
You can see doctors are arrogant. Most doctors will see you as not listening. There is no point in seeing patients who do not listen. Doctors will do that for a very long time but as their practice shifts you will be fired.
Getting a doctor is tricky as you age. Most of the tougher cases are among the older set or elderly. There is only so much stress a doctor will take on in 50 hours or more work per week. Worrying about the arrogance is off the mark. It is getting off on the wrong foot. Not necessary.
All that said being on guard to bad doctors is more than a must.
Wendy, I have not read the study, but pumping vitamins makes it a hack piece. Perhaps the test is elsewhere and simply used in this article. If so that test might be good, but seeing the proper doctor is more important than trying to self diagnosis.
As any doctor or nursing student can tell you, there is a phase in the training where the student has every disease in the book.
Additionally, there were a good many questions involving medical issues that, although quite strongly linked to poor lifestyle choices and plain ole Bad Habits, actually do have a strong genetic component (thinking about my own newly diagnosed familial hypercholesterolemia/coronary artery disease) >
The most direct genetic link to Alzheimer’s is the APOE-epsilon 4 allele. However, recent research shows that people who have that allele can reverse its effect by an hour of exercise every day.
People with familial hypercholestemia can seek medical treatment. Statins, etc. – obviously, see a cardiologist. Heart health is important to brain health.
A person with a strong family history of breast cancer can monitor very carefully, including with MRI. I paid out of pocket for my MRI when my mammogram found microcalcifications at age 61 and, sure enough, it found tiny cancers in both breasts.
My point is that I agree with you about genetic risks – but people with known genetic risks should act decisively to treat those risks. Spend more effort and money if needed – health and life depend on it. Taking a lazy approach (as most people do) will lead to bad outcomes.
Life would be so much easier if we were all normal. But even if we are not, we can still mitigate the problem in many (not all) cases.
A friend’s husband got early-onset Alzheimer’s in his early 50s and tragically died. But that’s rare. The vast majority of cases are lifestyle-related. That can be seen by the low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in Okinawa and other long-lived traditional areas.
I think your lifestyle has many effects on disease of all kinds. But I don’t want to suggest that anyone have control of neurological conditions. Most of the actions that are suggested to help hold off dementia will help with most diseases effecting older age. I have witnessed many neurological declines and maybe some of these actions would help delay the condition but I can only conclude its beyond our understanding still. I do think neurological problems are increasing now faster than medical science. So we can only do the best we can and maybe answers will come eventually.
I heard a radio interview interview with an astrophysicist in his 90’s that was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He was having neurological problems and he failed the clock test. Failing that test bothered him so much that he needed to know why that test was hard and he figured it out and explained the actions needed to draw a clock or read a clock. So he could not draw a clock but he knew why it was hard. He was 90 having some cognitive decline but still had investigative reasoning skills. I don’t know anything about his lifestyle but his mind was very active and he got old.
So my advice is to enjoy your life, family and friends as best you can.
The most direct genetic link to Alzheimer’s is the APOE-epsilon4 allele. However, recent research shows that people can reverse its effect by an hour of exercise every day
I think that, as a stand alone statement this is a little too overconfident. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate of meaningful exercise as a therapeutic intervention but potential limitations have to be acknowledged as much as benefits (true Scientific Thinking means looking at the claims supporting ones “beliefs” with the same scrutiny as those that don’t)
I’ve mentioned this before, but one reason that I’ve become partial to Peter Attia’s podcasts is that, as a tool to facilitate my 50-60+ minutes of Zone2/MAF training 3 times a week
(I’ll be the first to admit it can be a bear and I don’t think I could hack the specificity without these or TWiV) they’re constantly challenging me on the things I know that just ain’t so. Here’s a taster for but one example of what has me thinking more as well as exercising almostas much as I always did.
Of course, the real challenge is to actually get people up off their duffs and in the sort of shape whereby they can perform meaningful exercise in appropriate doses for the amount of time these tightly controlled studies suggest (assuming they are tightly controlled, that is). This isn’t an easy proposition. As mentioned upstream, even when folk accept the benefits, they still don’t do the business and from an appropriate age. A bit like effective brushing and flossing (Praise Be!)
The vast majority of cases are lifestyle related. That can be seen by the low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in Okinawa and other long lived traditional areas
Maybe…but there are other features of these Blue Zones that suggest that it’s a combination of factors. Study of these so called Blue Zones began in earnest in the very early aughts…when the term was coined…and have been written about extensively. Apart from the Adventists of Loma Linda, the one feature they had in common is that they were all quite isolated communities probably up until the mid 20th century. Grindingly hard lifestyle with relatively little variation in the food available from subsistence farming…for the first half of these centenarians existence. Additionally, a gene pool that was also specific to those isolated communities. With the arrival of first the 20th and now the 21st century, I suspect that even this feature is undergoing change and the decendants of those who were first studied (not necessarily their children…who would be the centenarians right now in 2022…but possibly the grandchildren and great grandchildren) are going to be showing a more diverse genome as well as lifestyle.
Yes, if starting from scratch you have to click the same button multiple times before you actually get to the test.
Yes - same thing happened to me!! Thank goodness it’s not my failure to comprehend and push the “Take the Test” button!!