Complied by Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University
Posted on October 29, 2018; Updated November 16, 2021. Disclaimer
There is a lot of confusion about Alzheimer's Disease and memory loss. This article attempts to clarify such confusion and demystify Alzheimer's [AD].
Dr. Khan has a great way of introducing this topic: “Has anyone seen my wallet?" “What time do I have to go to the dentist?” "What’s the name of that movie we went to last week? We all ask these sorts of questions from time-to-time no matter our age; and not having a perfect memory is perfectly normal. It's also normal that our longer term memory, as well as our ability to remember things that only occur occasionally, fade a little as we age. Nevertheless, as we get into our sixties, many of us worry that forgetfulness or difficulty paying attention are signs of worse things to come. One of the most widespread fears as we age is dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Both dementia (including Alzheimer’s) and delirium are both common causes of memory loss, impaired thinking and understanding (cognition) and impaired behaviour." Khan: What is Alzheimer's
There is a mystery of unknown's about Alzheimer's Disease [AD] and dementia. Is it a disease or a disorder? A disorder is classified as a disease when the disorder last for longer than six months or one year. Medical doctors, although baffled by this health problem, give it the medical name of Alzheimer's Disease.
Dr. Khan has a video that helps explain much of the Alzheimer mystery:
Khan's view: Length: 5:02 mns.
Alzheimer's disease is the formation of abnormal deposits of protein in the brain. These are called plaques and tangles, and they are made up of two key proteins: amyloid and tau. Although amyloid and tau are present in healthy brains, these occur in much greater detail in Alzheimer's. Ted presentor Ivan Seah Yu Jun does a great job of simplifying what Alzheimer's is:
What is Alzheimer's disease? - Ted presentor Ivan Seah Yu Jun Length = 3.49 mns.
Medical doctors have not been too successful in treating those with failing memory problems that eventuate as Alzheimer's. It is interesting to observe when viewing many if not most of the internet articles about Alzheimer's that most content is devoted to "what is it, symptoms and stages; special homes advertized for Alzheimer's; very few articles on prevention and causes. Here is an example:
The October 23-27, 2018, conference/meeting on Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease in Barcelona, Spain, focused on bringing together world wide leaders in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, including drug therapy. The theme reflects where the research is heading. Almost no mention of preventive approaches! Nor the cause(s) of dementia and Alzheimer. CTAD: Clinical Trials Conference on AD 2018
There are signs and reasons that the original theory that medical doctors have been using as a basis for prescribing drugs for Alzheimer Disease [AD] may not be working. As of 2017, many doctors who experimented with using drugs to prevent or stop AD have concluded that drug therapy is not working. Dolgin: Stop AD before it starts 2017 Doctors in 2018 published a new approach to interpreting AD by shifting the definition of Alzheimer's disease in living people - for use in research - from the current one, based on cognitive changes and behavioral symptoms with biomarker confirmation, to a strictly biological construct. This represents a major evolution in how researchers think about Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's Association: AD redefined 2018 Doctors have been on the wrong path for years, hence stymieing the understanding, therapy and prevention of Alzheimer's Disease! According to University of Manchester biologist, Andrew J. Doig, a hypothesis used to deal with Alzheimer's in the past, which has been the standard way of explaining how the body develops Alzheimer’s Disease for almost 30 years, is flawed. "Over the 26 years since the cascade was first described, hundreds of drugs based on this hypothesis have been trialed in people but none of them have worked." Doig: Original AD theory flawed 2018 Doig, AD theory may be incorrect 2018 Medical therapists and drug companies who were committed to the standard way of treating Alzheimer's Disease and dementia by using drugs have slowly come to realize that their past approaches to fighting AD have not worked.
We need to explore new ideas about Alzheimer's. Jenkins: AARP invests $60M in research 2018 In the past, information about the medical version of Alzheimer has not worked and has not been helpful. There is some good information on websites where viewers can find more information about many traditional aspects of AD and dementia in: Wiki: Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's Association: Basic information 2018
This article looks at a fresh approach to dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. Below is a video about Alzheimer's:
Dr. John Bergman: Alzheimer's Length= 44.41 mns.
Oh my! Dr. Bergman, a chiropractor, says a lot of things that are contradictory of medical practice .... like taking prescribed medications that can contribute to causing Alzheimer's. He backs this information with documentation so there must be some truth in what he states. Bergman presents a different point of view that may help explain how we slowly change our brain functions by taking pain killers and other medications. Has your medical doctor told you about the high risk of taking pain killers that can cause Alzheimer's Disease?
Dementia is another expression that is similar to Alzheimer's. AD: What is dementia 2018 The symptoms of dementia are discussed in the video below:
Dementia - 10 Early Signs and Symptoms Length = 8:46 mns.
Medical science has difficulty distinguishing between dementia and Alzheimer's disease and other related mental disorders. This may contribute to the medical profession being unable to help those lavishing with both disorders and mental illness. Wikipedia Wiki: dementia notes that Dementia is a broad category of brain disorders, that cause a long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember, that is great enough to affect a person's daily functioning. Other common symptoms include emotional problems, difficulties with language, and a decrease in motivation. A person's consciousness is usually not affected. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease, which makes up 50% to 70% of cases. Obviously, there is a lack of clarity about symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's.
Cause of Alzheimer's: The agreeable cause of AD is still unclear and unknown. Scientists can explain what takes place in Alzheimer's but what causes brain changes is still somewhat of a mystery. Neurologist Lisa Genova  TSP staff: Genova preventing AD 2018 and most neuroscientists believe that the disease begins when amyloid beta begins to accumulate in synapses of the brain. When too much is released, or not enough is cleared away, the synapse begins to pile up with amyloid beta, forming sticky aggregates called amyloid plaques. Genova thinks it takes at least 15 to 20 years of amyloid plaque accumulation before it reaches a tipping point, then triggering the causes the clinical symptoms of the disease. The plaques and tangles cause inflammation, thereby damaging the synapses and disrupt nerve communication in the brain.
A crucial neural transport protein called “tau” twists itself into something called “tangles,” which choke off the neurons from the inside. Over time, these tangles and tau reach what Genova refers to as the tipping point, causing cell death. Now Alzheimer's advanced stage has begun.
So .... if you have a mild or more progressive AD, it is the result of losing synapses. You still have a whole lot of good synapses left. New learning can create new synapses to replace the broken ones and this process can postpone the symptoms.
Prevention: As pointed out previously, most medical doctors have focused on treating Alzheimer's by prescribing drugs and do not mention prevention. And as Dr. Bergman has pointed out, chronic drug medications appear to make Alzheimer and dementia worse, not better. Medical scientists are finally taking new approaches to deal with these two similar mental illnesses.
The new approach to preventing Alzheimer's is to prevent, eliminate or reduce amyloid plaque [tangles] accumulation. Alzheimer's Disease can be delayed, postponed and even prevented in most elderly persons. As advocated by Bergman, such an approach has not been part of the medical approach; prevention is very possible. But for some, like around 500 in the world with a genetic mutation, that means its carriers will develop Alzheimer’s at a much younger age than those without the mutation, for whom the age of onset is typically about 80. Dolgin: Stop AD before it starts 2017 Carriers of AD can push back the early signs and enjoy more free healthy time.
Genova agrees with Bergman that the way we live can influence the accumulation of amyloid plaques. And so there are things we can do to postpone or keep us from reaching that tipping point [activating the destruction of synapses and brain communication]. Neurologist Lisa Genova suggests four ways, that everyone, young and old, can use to prevent or slow down Alzheimer's disease from incubating at an early age:  TSP staff: Genova preventing AD 2018
The issue of plasticity is a new way of explaining that the brain is thirsty for new adventures and experiences at all stages of life. The brain wants to continuously be busy learning new things. By learning something new, you build new synapses and slow down the possibility of Alzheimer's Disease. But when many stop learning, thinking that they know it all when they graduate from high school or college or they are too busy doing the routines of married life, that is when the brain is unhappy and begins to fall asleep. That is when the frustrated sleepy synapse becomes broken and dies.
Some new research about boron may shed some light about possible cause of Alzheimher's. Researchers prior to 2018 do not mention lack of boron in the diet as a possible cause or link to Alzheimer's disease or dementia. A Boron deficiency intake of less than 0.23mg daily appears to alter brainwave activity; enhancing delta power in the left parietal and temporal lobes and decreasing frontal lobe activity. Intake of 2 mgs of boron per day stabilizes these brain functions. The researchers concluded that boron plays an important role in human brain function and cognitive performance. Life Ext Mag: Boron Health Canada: Boron in health products 2007 Article by Kunin: Boron Ortho-mineral is no longer active. Studies indicate that boron may play a role in human brain function and cognitive performance, and provide additional evidence that boron is an essential nutrient for humans. Penland: Boron & brain function 1994
After reviewing the information presented in this article, the author concludes that there is hope for everyone, and especially those over 50, in preventing and slowing Alzheimer's disease. AD can be prevented and delayed. You need to check you lifestyle and adopt nuerologist Genova and Bergman's suggestions accordingly.
Alzheimer's Association, "Alzheimer's disease redefined: New research framework defines Alzheimer's by brain changes, not symptoms," EurekAlert, 2018 Alzheimer's Association: AD redefined 2018
Alzheimer's Association, "What is Alzheimer's?", 2018. Alzheimer's Association: Basic information 2018
Alzheimer's Association, "What is dementia?" AD: What is dementia 2018
Bergman, John, "Dementia 2018, " March 27, 2018. Bergman: Alzheimer's 2019
Bhatia Ticha,"7 Actions you can take to prevent Alzheimer's," Psychology Today, June 23, 2018. Bhatia: 7 ways to prevent AD 2018
Clinical trials on Alzheimer's Disease, "Conference Program 11 edition," Barcelona, Spain, October 24-27, 2018. CTAD: Clinical Trials Conference on AD 2018
Doig, Andrew J., "Positive Feedback Loops in Alzheimer’s Disease: The Alzheimer’s Feedback Hypothesis," Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2018, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 25-36. Doig: Original AD theory flawed 2018 Doig: AD theory may be incorrect 2018
Dolgin Elie, "The New Offensive on Alzheimer’s Disease: Stop it Before it Starts," Newsweek Magazine, Fegruary 16, 2017. Dolgin: Stop AD before it starts 2017
Fredericks Kim, "15 Things neurologists do to prevent Alzheimer's disease," Reader's Disease,
Health Canada, "ARCMustafa HIVED - Boron as a Medicinal Ingredient in Oral Natural Health Products," Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada, July 2007. Health Canada: Boron in health products 2007
HealthFitness, "Dealing with Alzheimer's and Dementia," HealthFitness, Februray 22, 2018. HealthFitness: 2018
JAD, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. JAD:
Jenkins, Ann, "AARP Invests $60 million to fund research for cures to dementia and Alzheimer's," AARP, June 25, 2018. Jenkins: AARP invests $60M in research 2018
Khan "Dementia and delirium, including Alzheimer's," KhanAcadem, Khan: What is Alzheimer's
Kunin Richard A., "Boron: An Ortho-Mineral," Healthy.net, 2000. Article by Kunin: Boron Ortho-mineral is no longer active.
Life Extension magazine, "Boron," August 2006. Life Ext Mag: Boron
Penland James G., "Dietary Boron, Brain Function, and Cognitive Performance," Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 102, Supplement 7, November 1994. Penland: Boron & brain function 1994
TSP staff, "What you can do to prevent Alzheimer's by Lisa Genova (Transcript,") The SingJu Post, January 12, 2018.  TSP staff: Genova preventing AD 2018
Wikipedia, "Alzheimer's Disease." Wiki: Alzheimer;s disease
Wikipedia, "Dementia," Wiki: dementia