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State of the Art Research into Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias
Arthur Levine, MD
100 million Americans have a neurological disease or disorder; the annual cost of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and other dementias, stroke, epilepsy, migraine, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS ( Lou Gehrig’s disease ), and traumatic brain injury totals $800 billion in care. Lost productivity, both for the patient and the family care-giver , makes this cost at least a trillion. The psychological cost, of course, is immeasurable. Many of these illnesses have their origin in our genes and the genetic blueprint is present at birth, even if symptoms do not emerge for decades. Moreover, twice during life (infancy and adolescence) the brain demonstrates extraordinary plasticity - including rapid cellular proliferation, network expansion, and network contraction, and these are critical periods in which our environment and experiences carry out the blueprint’s construction.
The most prevalent and worst of these illnesses may be Alzheimer’s, given its lengthy chronicity and deterioration - robbing the patient of cognition and memory - and the greatest risk factor for this disease is age. As we live longer, the risk increases dramatically; almost six million Americans have AD currently (1 in 10 people over 65). It is typically diagnosed at 65+ years, but we now know that AD starts 10-20 years before the earliest symptoms.
Dr. Levine, along with a large group of researchers, is studying all possible causes of AD: genetics, hypertension, latent diabetes, sleep deprivation, systemic inflammation, environmental factors, defects in vision and hearing, and viruses. They are also focused on Covid “long haulers”, speculating that some may eventuate with AD, given the presence of this virus in the brain. He will share the latest findings with us.
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