Can Any Drugs Cure Alzheimer's?

Read Transcript

So, we know what we need to do, but we haven't done it right yet. We know that all the genetics so far has told us one thing, and from a number of different directions that, in your brain, over decades of life, you are accumulating Alzheimer's endure[xx] cells, a very sticky material called data amyloid, and I think it of it like cholesterol. You need it, but too much of it will hurt you.

So in heart disease, we keep cholesterol at a safe level in order to offset the risk for a coronary event, right? Well in Alzheimer's substitute cholesterol with beta-amyloid, for a long time people thought it was just junk in the brain, and some people still do. We now know at least two different roles it may have,

helping to control nerve cell firing, also working to and in the immune system of the brain, actually protecting you against infection. So, you don't want to wipe it out. So the goal would be to keep those levels low enough to offset risk, and in some people, you have to keep it lower than others, just like in heart disease, because their genetics is such that they can trigger the disease more quickly.

So the goal of drugs and therapies for this disease have been to hit the amyloid. And we think of this like the kitchen sink that's overflowing where the brain might be overflowing with amyloid. When a kitchen sink overflows, you either turn off the spigot or you unclog the drain. So this is exactly what we've been trying to do, but the drugs that have been tested so far either didn't get into the brain as it stuck to get to the brain, brain protects itself or they got in and they weren't potent enough, or they got in and were potent, but they weren't sick. So you need, the magic formula will be a drug that's safe, gets into the brain, and potenetly and specifically lowers that amyloid, just the right level, just like we use as a cholestrol lowering drug to lower risk for a heart disease.

The rest of it is lifestyle. The same thing you do to lower risk for heart disease, you do for Alzheimer's. You exercise, you keep a healthy diet. I'm a vegetarian probably for that reason. But in Alzheimer's it's also important to stay socially engaged, OK? Loneliness is a major risk factor. If you're sitting at home, watching a rerun of Gilligan's Island that you've seen 50 times, nothing wrong with that, because I like it, and munching on potato chips, you're in the highest risk category for both heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. It's all about getting out, moving, being intellectually stimulated, engaging with people, so not crossword puzzles, not Sudoku, OK?

Engagement, because every time you take in noble inflammation, you're making new synapses, you're protecting your brain, why? Because in Alzheimer's disease, it's loss of the connection between the nerve cells, the synapses that causes the disease.