Alzheimer’s: Just the name terrifies millions of people worldwide. We’ve all been touched by it, whether through a friend or family member, and it’s a huge issue as people live longer and longer lives and all forms of dementia become more likely due to age. In fact, the number of people expected to be affected by dementia worldwide is expected to be 135 million by 2050.
Good news has come from researchers at Duke University, in North Carolina, who have found in mice that the immune systems of rats showing the effects of Alzheimer’s attacks a nutrient, which normally protects the brain, called arginine. However, in their research, they were able to block this process using a drug called difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) and were able to stop memory loss in the brains of the mice affected by this issue.
Obviously, adapting this drug therapy to humans is the ultimate hope, and it certainly sounds promising. Carol Colton, who is the senior author of the study and a professor of neurobiology at Duke University, said,
“We see this study opening the doors to thinking about Alzheimer’s in a completely different way, to break the stalemate of ideas in Alzheimer’s disease.”
The researchers also said that eating more foods with arginine did not seem to provide a defense against Alzheimers because the body regulates how much : can get in to the brain.
Even if this research turns into a breakthrough for those suffering from Alzheirmer’s Disease, millions of people could be at risk for this disease and be completely unaware of it. However, they can take some very simple steps to give a greater likelihood that Alzheimer’s will pass them by.
For example, consistent lifelong mental stimulation helps maintain brain health and can ward off dementia. Simple activities such as reading, playing a musical instrument, or regular social interaction can make a difference.
Recent research also seems to indicate a causal relationship between regular exercise and cognitive ability, so exercise may play a favorable role in lowering the chances of having Alzheimer’s Disease, as can the type of diet that a person eats (A Japanese or Mediteranean type diet appears to have a correlation with lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease).
Certainly, while a medical breakthrough benefiting those suffering from Alzheimer’s is something that we all want, if you do not yet have this difficulty, then you may want to consider intentionally working on ways to ward of this disease from impacting your life.