C an Alzheimer’s disease really be prevented?

Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention program at Cornell University (AlzU.org), says “Absolutely!” The founders of the University of Kansas’ Lifestyle Empowerment for Alzheimer’s Prevention program wholeheartedly agree. Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, co-directors of Loma Linda University’s Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, concur.

Dr. David Perlmutter, the neurologist/nutritionist/author who wrote the best seller “Grain Brain,” thinks Alzheimer’s is a lifestyle disease, much like diabetes. So do Dr. Mark Hyman, author of “Eat Fat, Get Thin,” and Dr. Dale Bredesen, the UCLA researcher who published studies in 2014 and 2018 where Alzheimer’s disease was successfully reversed. More than a thousand functional medicine doctors worldwide offer prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

So why isn’t your primary care physician offering prevention brochures in their waiting areas? Why aren’t insurance companies paying for lifestyle classes? Why aren’t highly esteemed organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic subscribing to prevention theories?

Their differences in opinion are caused by scientific philosophy. The individual doctors and teaching universities are pioneers building prevention programs based on many observational studies they find valid. The conservative institutions are balking because of the lack of randomized controlled clinical trials. These trials are the international gold standard for acceptance of conclusions as scientific fact.

Both sides have merit and the tension between the camps serves people well. In all industries, we need innovators, people challenging prevailing thought. We also benefit from the conservative guardians of established fact, who protect us from error or charlatans peddling snake oil solutions.

Innovation in medicine frequently follows a rocky path. Heart surgeons developing bypass and open-heart surgical procedures in the 1960s and 1970s faced severe criticism from their peers, the hospitals where they worked and the Christian church, which believed the surgeons were “playing God.”

Sixty years later, health-care consumers have an advantage. They can access the internet where there are excellent articles about the lifestyle that can prevent or significantly delay Alzheimer’s. In Brazoria County, they can also enroll in The Gathering Place’s Brain Camp or Meta Camp programs.

Brenda Maust is founder of The Gathering Place Interfaith Ministries. Learn more at gatheringplacebrazoria.org or call 979-308-4525.

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