Instead of Waiting for a Miracle Alzheimer’s Drug, Address Your Lifestyle Today

When Pfizer backed out of the latest Alzheimer’s drug trials, they sent a rather clear message.

Alzheimer’s drug trials have continued to fail, at a rate of 99.6 percent annually.

This is why more and more doctors have stopped waiting for ‘the miracle’ drug, shifting their attention to lifestyle variables. By actively encouraging their patients to take care of their brain health, they can offer real solutions, and do so today.

From nutrition to the importance of optimal heart health, we must actively focus on variables we can control during the race to find a cure.

No New Drugs to Treat Alzheimer’s In 15 Years

As mentioned, the failure rate of drug trails is nearly 100 percent, and hasn’t shifted in years. Of the nearly 200 compounds that have been tested over the years, just five have been approved for Alzheimer’s. Of these, none are able to stop the progression of the disease itself.

It is hard to ignore the fact that no new drugs have been released in 15 years, but there is a silver lining. Currently, there are more than 400 clinical trials in-progress around the globe. Researchers are making remarkable discoveries every day. This means that the likelihood that they will find a new, successful treatment is high.

Although there is significant hope in relation to a potential future drug, there are things that we can do today in order to improve cognition and neurological health. This is why many doctors have altered their approach, as they too wait for the latest drug discovery.

A Lifestyle Approach to Alzheimer’s Treatment

At this time, both physicians and researchers are optimistic. Although the race for a new Alzheimer’s drug has somewhat stalled, the race is still on. After all, there a number of drugs out there that have promise.

When you look at cancer drugs, for instance, this disease was once untreatable. Today, approximately 1 out of every 5 cancer drug trials is successful. Researchers are confident that it is only a matter of time until an effective Alzheimer’s treatment is developed. However, this could could take years — even decades.

This is why many healthcare professionals agree that instead of waiting for a miracle drug, we should begin to alter lifestyle factors. At this time, addressing diet, exercise, and sleep patterns may be our best bet. From high blood pressure to insomnia, these conditions have been shown to cause changes in the brain which result in cognitive decline.

What You Can Do Today

There may not be an Alzheimer’s cure, but there are ways to intervene. By altering your current lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your risk. This has been reported in studies around the globe, showing promise for those hoping to ward off symptoms of dementia later in life.

In one recent study, published in Neurology, it was found that women who displayed high cardiovascular fitness, had an 88 percent lower risk of dementia compared to moderately fit women. This also ties into the research that shows a strong connection between circulatory health and brain function.

The human brain is a highly vascularized organ. This means that there are many blood vessels in the brain, all which demand oxygen-rich blood. By becoming more active, you strengthen your body’s ability to pump blood where it is needed most. You also reduce your risk of cardiovascular complications, including diabetes and hypertension.

DIET, EXERCISE, AND SLEEP

Considering the brain’s ability to process information begins to decline as early as 25 years of age, it is never too early (or too late) to begin exercising. Physical activity supports neuronal growth and in turn, cellular communication. Aim for a minimum of 2.5 of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, in addition to resistance training.

For more information, please read, “Get Your Blood Pumping — Exercise Could Fight Off Alzheimer’s.”

Although the research on nutrition and Alzheimer’s is conflicting, there is no doubt that there is a link between diet and overall health. Foods such as quality olive oil, fish, coconut oil, and walnuts have been shown to have neuroprotective effects. Many physicians are now recommending the Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based food.For more information, please read, “Green Vegetables Help Keep Elderly Brains Younger.”

Sleep is another critical area, as older adults need between six to eight hours of quality sleep each night. During this time, the body and brain are restored and toxic proteins are flushed out. For more information, please read, “Another Reason to Rethink Your Current Sleep Routine.”

Implement healthy changes, track your progress, and be mindful of your current level of cognition. To better assess various cognitive domains, the BrainTest® app offers support. By helping you detect the early warning signs of impaired cognition, you can address cognitive changes as soon as possible. 

For information on the science behind the BrainTest® app, please refer to the following publications

 


Krista Hillis has a B.A.Sc degree, specializing in neuroscience and psychology. She is actively involved in the mental health and caregiving community, aiming to help others. Krista is also passionate about nutrition and the ways in which lifestyle choices affect and influence the human brain.

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