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It’s ALL in Your Brain

An insider look to one of the scariest diseases of adult now a days..

A number of long-term, prospective clinical trials are now underway to test the effectiveness of vitamin E and other antioxidants in preventing or postponing cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  Several are funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Consumption of Metals

Aluminum

One of the most alarming and controversial hypotheses about the potential risk factors for Alzheimer’s concerns aluminum, which became a suspect when researchers found traces of this metal in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.This is indeed a grave concern because many people use aluminum pots and pans for cooking, and aluminum canteens for drinking in the world.Many studies since then have either not been able to confirm this finding or have had questionable results.  Aluminum does turn up in higher amounts than normal in some autopsy studies of Alzheimer’s patients, but this certainly doesn’t occur in all.  In addition, the aluminum found in some studies may have come from substances used in the laboratory to study the brain tissue after death.Moreover, various other studies have found that groups of people exposed to high levels of aluminum do not have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.On the whole, scientists can say that it is still very debatable whether exposure to aluminum plays any role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Zinc

Zinc has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease in various studies.Some research reports suggest that too little zinc may be a problem, while other studies suggest that too much zinc is an issue.Too little zinc was suggested by autopsies that found low levels of zinc in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, especially in thehippocampus, the part of the brain involved in learning and memory. However, other studies suggest that too much zinc might be the problem.  In laboratory experiments, zinc caused the formation of solublebeta amyloid from cerebrospinal fluid to form clumps similar to the plaques seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.Current experiments with zinc are continuing, with new laboratory tests that closely mimic conditions in the brain.

Weight, Blood Pressure, Heart Disease  and Cholesterol

There is growing evidence that many of the well-established risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, may also be risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.Brain infracts, heart disease and mid-life hypertension increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia.A large study by researchers in Finland supports this thinking. Among the study population of 1,449 people, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure seemed to be even more strongly linked to the eventual development of Alzheimer’s than did carrying APOE-4 gene, the only known inherited risk-factor for the most common form of the disease.Those people who carried the APOE-4 gene were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with no genetic risk.  However, if those APOE-4 carriers also had high blood pressure, then they were up to five times as likely to develop the disease.When high cholesterol was also present, the risk jumped to eight times greater than those without APOE-4. This and a number of other studies around the world are strongly indicating that what’s good for the heart – keeping weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in check – may also be good for the brain.Cholesterol is essential for healthy brain function – it is a component of cell membranes (structures that enclose nerve cells), and it is required for the repair and establishment of new connections between nerve cells.  However, studies have shown that high cholesterol in mid-life and late-life can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Subsequent studies have indicated that cholesterol lowering drugs may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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  1. interesting topic!

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