If you tested positive for early signs of Alzheimer’s, would you change your lifestyles?

Beta-amyloid is one of the two factors that were seen the first time the condition of Alzheimer’s was diagnosed. That was back in 1906 when Alois Alzheimer identified the first Alzheimer’s patient. He had a patient who progressed from difficulty with memory to the point where the patient was completely dependent on others to take care of her. She had become very agitated at times and finally became withdrawn from those around her. Alois Alzheimer performed an autopsy on her brain when she passed away. After slicing minute sections of brain tissue and looking at them under a microscope, he discovered clumps of beta-amyloid protein within the tissue. When he further studied the inside of those neuron nerve cells, he found that the protein inside, called tau protein, had become twisted into tangles. These outside beta-amyloid plaques and inside tau protein tangles became the hallmark for making the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques and tangles usually show up initially in the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory. The nerve cells he examined had died. They had undergone irreversible changes.

Today, you don’t have to have an autopsy to diagnose Alzheimer’s. The process begins approximately 20 years prior to symptoms. If such studies revealed you had beta amyloid plaques forming in your brain, would you change your eating habits, begin exercising and getting to an ideal weight?

The PET scan is the one that shows the beta amyloid. This is how we know that Alzheimer’s begins many years before symptoms occur. One third of older people have beta amyloid in their brain without any symptoms. It is 20 years before symptoms.

The MRI is a scan of the brain without using X-ray and shows the empty spaces in the brain after the cells die.

These two studies are huge in studying Alzheimer’s. These studies can follow people who eat properly, who exercise and who have ideal weight and compare them with the ones who don’t. Without medicine, the only treatment and prevention is to copy the good lifestyles that tremendously decreases our chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

You don’t have to have your brain studied to begin your prevention program before symptoms ever begin.