Can Alzheimer's Disease be Prevented?

Read Transcript

We're seeing is that [xx] pathology in Alzheimer's begins, it seems to continue, it's almost like it's spreading, it's almost like it's propagating itself. So, a decade ago I might have said, let's cure the disease, stop the pathology, it's there and allow the brain to come back, kind of like when you tell somebody quit smoking, in the first day you quit smoking your lungs will start to come back, and I believed that for a long time, and now I'm not so sure. Because with the newer findings that say that once this pathology begins, it seems to be able to self propagate which is very scary, it tells me that we can't let this pathology start in the first place.

So I now talk about eradicating Alzheimer's disease rather than curing it, but yes but those who have the disease, same therapies will eventually be used to prevent Alzheimer's from ever striking, we are confident and also help those with disease who have it now, but the mantra is early prediction, early detection, early prevention.

We find all of the Alzheimer's genes so someday we can can do nice, legally protected, reliable genetic testing. We can't do that yet. For most cases of Alzheimer's except that we're rolling onset forms to strike on 60, you can't do reliable genetic testing, plus I think a legal protection for your genetics is still a work in progress we are getting there, but some day, where we can predict risk based on genetics or even more simply family history.

Then you can tell somebody you need to be more diligent, more vigilant about this disease coming out, and that gets us to early detection. Imaging, biomarkers, looking for certain proteins in the blood or in the swivel spinal fluid from a lumber puncture, looking for markers that the disease is started but you don't have symptoms yet. I would say that at that point or well before that point, if your genetics says so, you need to start taking whatever it takes, drugs, supplements, lifestyle changes to prevent the disease from striking in the first place, and our model is really heart disease.

I come from a family with a family history of heart disease, my dad, his dad, my dad's brother, they all died by 45 of heart disease. I'm fine, right, but what did I do, I'm playing football, basketball 6 hours a week, I am a vegetarian, my cholesterol's fine but I'm taking a high dose of a cholesterol lowering drug, statin.

I'm seeing a cardiologist twice a year, I'm getting stress test. I'm treating myself like I have heart disease because my family history in genetics is strong enough that I practice what I preach. I have to prevent this disease from striking in the first place, the goal will be to do exactly the same, for Alzheimer's.

Think about the incidence of heart disease and how it's been decreased, simply by modifying exercise, diet, lifestyle, and for those who aren't doing so well, put them on a cholesterol lowering drug. Well, for those who have a strong genetic history like me, put them on a cholesterol lowering drug anyway.