A common progressive disease that continues to threaten aged and senior people is that of Alzheimer’s. On average, every one person in three is most likely to have Alzheimer’s Disease.

Characterized by problems in memory, thinking and behavior, there is still no potent cure for this disease. However, a popular neuroscientist Lisa Genova says that Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be your brain’s destiny.

And, without relying on a cure or medical advancements, you can still prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s. Read on to know how to prevent Alzheimer’s and keep your brain young.

The Neuroscience of Alzheimer’s

Firstly, let’s begin to understand why and how Alzheimer’s occur. The neurons in your body communicate with each other through the synapse. The synapse is where neurotransmitters are released and signals are passed. Whatever bodily function we do – thinking, remembering, feeling, moving, seeing, hearing, etc are monitored via these signals.

Along with neurotransmitters, neurons also release a small peptide called Amyloid Beta. Normally this Amyloid Beta is cleared away by the janitor in the brain named micro-glial cells. Most neuroscientists believe that Alzheimer’s occur when too much of Amyloid Beta begins to accumulate in the synapse. Either too much of it is released or it is not cleared away by the glial cells.

As a result, the Amyloid Beta Peptide bind together and form a sticky aggregate called Amyloid Beta Plagues. People over 40 years can already be having too much amyloid plaque deposits in their brain and this potentially sets the stage for the progression of Alzheimer’s.

The Tipping Point 

However, there is no reason to panic, because amyloid beta plagues are a natural part of wear and tear in your body. There is worry only when excessive Amyloid plagues are found and it reaches a tipping point. This cascades a series of molecular reaction that manifests into the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

When the amyloid plaque deposits reach a tipping point, the microglial cells in an effort to clear them, begin releasing various other inflammatory chemicals causing cellular damage. A crucial neurotransmitter protein called Tau becomes hyperactive and twists itself into tangles which tend to choke off the neuron from the inside.

By mid-Alzheimer’s stage, you might have massive inflammation and tangles that are at war at the synapse. Therefore, to treat Alzheimer’s you should possibly be taking preventive measures before the amyloid beta deposits reach the tipping point and start triggering their reactions.

Unfortunately, modern medicine has failed because of this very reason, because drugs fail to treat this disease once it reaches a state where it’s too late.

How To Prevent Alzheimer’s

Think of the Amyloid beta plagues as a match that sets fire to the forest. Once the forest is ablaze, it is not possible to reverse the fire. But you can prevent the match from being lit. The way you live and your lifestyle has a big influence. Here’s how you can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and change your brain’s destiny:

1. Sleep

A healthy sleep routine can go a long way to prevent Alzheimer’s as it is the only time that the brain gets it restorative power. During deep sleep, the glial cells release cerebrospinal fluids throughout the brain to clear away the metabolic waste and Amyloid Beta Peptides accumulated in the synapse.

If you don’t get enough sleep, it can be a predictor for Alzheimer’s because even a single night’s disturbed sleep can drive the accumulation of Amyloid Beta Plagues.

To make it worse, the build-up of amyloid beta plagues can even contribute to lack of sleep. As a result, you immediately begin to enter a vicious cycle that can build-up the toxins in the brain and start you tilting towards the tipping point.

2. Genes

The good news is that genes don’t necessarily determine the possibility of contracting this disease. Even if you inherit the gene called APOE4 which can cause Alzheimer’s, you can still counteract its effect by building the healing power of your body and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

3. Cardiovascular Health

High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and obesity have all been shown to increase our risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Some autopsy research on sufferers of Alzheimer’s has even revealed that up to 80% of people with the disease also showed some sign of cardiovascular disease.

Therefore, a heart-healthy diet, aerobic exercises and a healthy lifestyle free of stress is a must to help stave off any effects.

4. Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Reserve

One of the most vital things you can do even if you have a full pathology of this disease is through neuroplasticity. The term neuroplasticity refers to your brain learning things, forging new connections, building new neurons and synapses.

In short, by learning more things, you keep your brain active and learn about varied topics, people and places to build more connections in your brain. So even if your synapses are flooded with plagues, you will still be able to benefit with the rich, new connections in your brain that will outweigh the broken ones.

A study was done on 678 nuns aged above 75 as evidence and autopsy examinations were undertaken on their brains after they died. Numerous plaques, tangles, and brain shrinkage were found in the brain.

However, surprisingly not a single nun displayed symptoms of Alzheimer’s while they were alive. How is this even possible? Researches attribute the reason to their brain’s cognitive reserve which means that they had more functional synapses than those non-functional ones.

Therefore, even if some synapses are compromised, your rich cognitive reserve can play a major role to replace them with better connections. That is why it’s important to keep your brains active even as you age learning new things and being socially active.

Build Resilience 

You can be resilient to the presence of Alzheimer’s pathology through the recruitment of yet undamaged pathways. Create these new and rich pathways by building new neural roads like learning a new language, reading informational articles or meeting new friends.

Bear in mind that you are more than what you can remember. If you are ever diagnosed with this disease, you can still wage a battle and overcome it.

Rewire Your Brain for Health and Happiness : All About Neuroplasticity


Alzheimer’s Disease