November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed this month in 1983. Uncharitable people may consider that ironic. (In fact, although Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s years after he left office, the evidence that he had the disease while he was President is inconclusive and unconvincing.) The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s has tripled since the first Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It now stands at about six million. Fighting the disease gets more urgent as the population ages. Nobody survives Alzheimer’s.
A Bright Future
In his declaration for this year’s awareness month, President Biden asked Congress for funding to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). He wants to “accelerate our research on detecting, treating, and curing diseases like Alzheimer’s.” The new agency would be modeled on DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. DARPA is the remarkably successful agency that laid the groundwork for both the Internet and the GPS system.
In June, the FDA approved a drug, Aduhelm (aducanumab), for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. It works by reducing amyloid plaques in the brain. This drug is the first treatment to address the biology of the disease rather than just treating its symptoms. It won’t restore lost memories, but most experts believe that reducing amyloid plaques can arrest the progress of the disease and the decline of the patient.
No Cure Yet
Increased research… a new drug for treating the disease… The future looks brighter. But anyone diagnosed with the disease has a right to feel grim about it.
If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or even if you just worry about it, you may want to visit the website of the Alzheimer’s Association. The association is a leading supporter of accelerated research into Alzheimer’s. But it also provides a wealth of information and resources for Alzheimer’s patients and those who care for them. I find it illuminating that website’s home page does not mention Alzheimer’s Awareness Month but instead proclaims November “National Family Caregivers Month.”
Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
Alzheimer’s is generally a slow-moving disease. The early stages are so uncertain that the Alzheimer’s Association has published a list of 10 warning signs to help people determine if they even have it. With a disease that takes so long to produce symptoms, it’s difficult to pinpoint the difference between treatment and prevention. Most researchers believe that if you can reduce inflammatory response and oxidative stress, it will slow the progress of the disease. So if you’re in the pre-symptom stage of Alzheimer’s, reducing your inflammatory response is the practical equivalent of preventing it.
Reducing inflammatory response is one of our specialties at Peak Recovery & Health Center. We have two services that do that: photobiomodulation and cryotherapy. Cryotherapy reduces total antioxidant status, while photobiomodulation directly reduces oxidative stress.
Photobiomodulation and cryotherapy are not treatments. If you have Alzheimer’s or suspect you might have it, you should see a doctor. There are now treatments available. But if you are undiagnosed and you want to do everything you can to prevent the eventual onset of dementia, consider regularly using one of those services to rejuvenate your cells and improve your circulation.