A freight train is a comin’ and, unfortunately it may knock all too many of us flat. Researchers and experts can see the bright light on the engine and if you touch the tracks you can feel the rumble as it barrels towards us. I’m talking about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our U.S. population is aging and one in three of us is expected to get hit with such severe memory loss that we will be disabled, even dysfunctional.
So in this time of extreme economic uncertainty and slashing of research budgets what can we do to slow the train or stop it? Could it be something simple? For example, a study that just came out found people who drank three or more cups of coffee had a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s. Some experts are skeptical but wouldn’t Starbucks love this?
I wanted to get some definitive information about what we can do now and what is being done. With the help of Patient Power’s partner, HealthWorks Collective, we interviewed Dr. Reissa Sperling, a world expert at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Sperling explains the latest work, with US government funding, studying a large family in Colombia that seems to be at high risk for Alzheimer’s. Would giving a new drug delay or prevent the disease from developing where, otherwise, each family member has a 100 percent chance? This could shed light on how to stop or slow early onset Alzheimer’s and also provide clues for the rest of us who might develop the disease as seniors.
We’ve just published the first interview with Dr. Sperling and another one is coming soon with some practical tips on how to stay sharp. Many experts agree regular exercise is a great routine to help keep your mind sharp as well as keep the rest of your body in shape. My dear departed father, Max, lived to be 92 and was still practicing law at that time. His mind was sharp. Was it because he played golf, played bridge, worked, or went to the gym to lift weights and look at pretty girls? And he did drink coffee. We’ll have to wait for more research for what prescription is right for boomers like me. One thing is for sure, we have to pay attention to that train. It must be a research priority, otherwise too many of us will be physically “here” but not able to maintain deep interactive relationships with the people we love and who love us.
Wishing you and your family the best of health!