Alzheimer's disease: scientists told how to reduce the risk of a dangerous brain disease
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Even if you have a genetic predisposition to developing Alzheimer's disease, this does not mean that it will definitely appear.
Alzheimer's disease is a severe brain disease and is the most common form of dementia. A person who is diagnosed with a disease gradually loses his memory, his cognitive functions decrease, confusion of consciousness is observed, the ability to perceive the surrounding reality normally decreases, and there are also problems with speech. If earlier it was believed that this disease, which has been known for almost 120 years, occurs mainly in people over 60 years old, now younger people also suffer from it. John Mamo from Curtin University, Australia, spoke about how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and what you need to do to do this, writes ScienceAlert.
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A dangerous form of dementia
Another surge of interest in the emergence and development of Alzheimer's disease arose after the recent statement by Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth that he has a predisposition to this brain disease. This actor is best known for the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hemsworth decided to take a break from his career after discovering that he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, which greatly increases his risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. For example, if a person has one copy of the APOE4 gene, then the risk of developing a dangerous brain disease increases by 2-3 times, but two copies increase this risk by 10-15 times.
Alzheimer's disease will appear,” Memo says.
According to the scientist, now only in Australia half a million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and in 15 years, according to forecasts, several hundred people will be diagnosed with this disease every day. And this will be a worldwide trend.
“But not all people who have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease necessarily develop it. Research shows that there are a whole range of different factors that lead to the fact that some people get this disease, and there are no others,” Mamo says.
APOE genes and their association with Alzheimer's disease
The APOE genes encode a protein of the same name in the human body, which is involved in the metabolism of lipids, that is, fats. This protein has been linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular disease. Different types of APOE genes, including APOE4, code for the synthesis of different versions of the APOE protein with slight differences in structure. APOE proteins become an integral part of blood lipoproteins. These are the particles that carry fat, and their levels can tell you how high your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is.
APOE proteins perform the same function in the brain, controlling lipid levels. But in the context of Alzheimer's disease, researchers are studying its effect on the integrity of brain cells. Research data show that, for example, the APOE4 protein is associated with brain inflammation and cell damage.
How to prevent the onset of the disease Alzheimer's?
“Damaged blood vessels in the human brain cause inflammation and subsequent death of brain cells, which in turn leads to cognitive impairment and other problems. These damaged blood vessels are the earliest sign of the type of brain damage that causes Alzheimer's disease. Studies show that the protein that encodes the APOE4 gene is not able to maintain blood vessels in a normal state,” Mamo says.
According to the scientist, even if there is no particular genetic predisposition to the development of a dangerous form of dementia, then one of the factors affecting the damage to the blood vessels of the brain is food rich in fats.
“It's safe to say that eating foods that improve heart function and do not harm it will also be beneficial for brain function. Therefore, whether a person has the APOE4 gene or not, a healthy diet is this is the key to minimizing the risk of Alzheimer's disease,” says the scientist.
There is another way to reduce the risk of developing this form of dementia, says Mam. You just need to give your brain more rest and reduce the number of stressful situations as much as possible. Constant stress can also damage brain cells.
“Dump your brain more often if you can, let it rest, and avoid unnecessary stress if you can,” Memo advises.
“We can't change the genes that we given to us by our parents, but we can change the factors that can influence the development of Alzheimer's disease,” the scientist believes.
According to Memo, malnutrition, every drop of alcohol consumed, obesity and diabetes, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle – all this contributes to the deterioration of vascular health over time and increases the risk of developing dementia, regardless of whether a person has the APOE4 gene or not.
Scientists still do not know the exact causes of Alzheimer's disease and in recent years, more and more theories have arisen that try to name these reasons. Focus has already written about one of these studies in detail.