Thursday, April 3, 2008

10 Million Baby Boomers Face Alzheimer's Epidemic

From: Art Kab  
Subject: 10 Million Baby Boomers Face Alzheimer's Epidemic

I would like to preface the following article and comments posted on Dr. Mercola's website (but originating with the Washington Post on March 18th, 2008) with a section on Alzheimer's from B. Blake Levitt's excellent book, Electromagnetic Fields, written 13 years ago in 1995. People can certainly make up their own minds what to believe, but I find this information extremely compelling, especially regarding the experiment done where chimpanzees who were subjected to repeated low-level nonthermal exposures of microwaves "produced clinical Alzheimer's in [the] test animals." I am extremely curious to know as to whether or not anymore research along these lines has been done. Or has the overreaching hand of the cell phone industry been able to halt such experiments?

Many people think that Alzheimer's disease - a progressive, fatal, complete mental deterioration - is a a disorder of normal aging that afflicts an unlucky few. But there is nothing about Alzheimer's that is normal to aging. Nor is it related to mild forgetfulness. It is a degeneration of the neurons in specific areas of the brain that results from some disturbance within nerve-cell networks utilizing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Just ten years ago, Alzheimer's was considered an obscure and rare condition, but today it is the nation's fourth leading cause of death. What happened? Is it simply that better diagnosis has turned up more statistically reliable numbers, which perhaps had been lumped together in years past with senile dementia? Or were we dealing with another degenerative nerve disease increasing in incidence beyond a mere increase in the population? It looks like the latter is true - although increases in the population of those living beyond the age of eighty-five plays a significant role in the sheer numbers of cases today. And although there are only a handful of indicative studies and much speculation at this stage, there is a possibility that some EMF frequencies may play an important role, too.

Alzheimer's is a specific organic disease that afflicts only some people. It is quite different from memory lapses that plague all of us as we age, in which long-term memory is crystal clear and short-term memory seems to all but evaporate. A typical memory lapse of old age would be a person's remembering in vivid detail an event from youth as if it were yesterday but forgetting where his or her glasses were a minute ago. With Alzheimer's, people forget that they ever wore glasses.

Alzheimer's is a physical process in which the nerve cells of the brain take on the abnormal characteristics of "plaques" and "tangles." In time brain tissue comes to resemble long strands of gray knotted rubber. The disease affects women twice as often as men. Women who have taken anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis or have had estrogen-replacement therapy have been found in some studies to have a reduced risk of developing the disorder. These studies indicate that inflammation as well as hormonal changes may be important factors. (EMFs annd hormonal changes were discussed in Chapters 7 and 8.)

Research particular to acetylcholine was conducted in 1976 by a research group headed by J.J. Noval, at the Naval Air Development Center in Johnsville, Pennsylvania. Studies using rats exposed to very weak electric fields vibrated in the extremely-low-frequency ranges (the kind of EMF typical of any office or modern home) produces an increase in brain-stem acetycholine levels, indicating a subliminal stress response in test animals. (This also has implications for humans and low-level "contact currents" produced by touching any common machine, including small appliances. Far more work needs to explore this possibility.)

Genetics may also be involved. Several studies have found a genetic abnormality similar to those with Down's syndrome also occurring in Alzheimer's patients. And recent research has found that the presence of a protein molecule called apoliprotein E (ApoE4) was present in 64 percent of those studied with Alzheimer's, whereas only 31 percent of those in the control group had E4. (However the presence or absence of E4 was found to have a clearer relationship to the age of the person at the onset of Alzheimer's. Some of those without E4 did get the disease, but the onset was after age eight-four.)

Recent research by Daniel Alkon, at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, has turned up a fundamental difference between the skin cells of Alzheimer's patients and healthy people. Alzheimer's patients appear to have defective potassium ion channels, which funnel potassium out of the cells. It was found that Alzheimer's patients had this cellular malfunction in the nerve cells leading from the nose to the brain. Learning and memory are associated with a number of changes in the flow of potassium ions through cellular channels. It is not known yet whether the defect originates within the brain, or even whether it precedes Alzheimer's symptoms. All that remains to be seen.

Some important questions need to be asked, such as: Are different EMF frequencies responsible for opening and closing (or permanently shutting down) potassium channels in the same way that research indicates window effects for calcium ion channels at the cellular level? Could an EMF resonance factor be involved with potassium ions? Melatonin is also known to be suppressed in those with Alzheimer's, and EMFs have been found to lower melatonin in some studies. is there any significance to the concentration of magnetite in the nasal area? What of the studies that have found EMFs to increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier?

Recent work done jointly by Dr. Eugene Sobel, of the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and Dr. Joseph Bowman, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, found statistically significant increases in Alzheimer's in some EMF-related occupations. The researchers combined the data from one American study and two Finnish studies and found that tailors, seamstresses, and dressmakers (who work with electric sewing machines) were overrepresented among the Alzheimer's cases. Increases were also seen for carpenters and electrical engineers, among other EMF professions. A fourth study is in the offing, as well as additional research in Finland.

Dr. Sobel indicated that the use of certain high-EMF-emitting machines may eventually be linked with Alzheimer's, but that a casual relationship between EMFs and specific people is premature. Kitchens, however, are high-EMF sources, and this may eventually account for the two-to-one ratio between women and men with Alzheimer's.

There is also some indication that the microwave frequencies are particularly suspect. Dr. Sam Koslov, director of the Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University, found, in a study using microwave exposures on chimpanzees, that the repeated low-level nonthermal exposures to the eyes produced clinical Alzheimer's in test animals. At autopsy, the classic plaques and tangles were found in brain tissue. (The researchers discovered this relationship by accident; they were testing for something else.)

Regarding the causes of Alzheimer's, a range of possibilities exists, including subtle genetic alterations initiated by environmental EMFs. Or EMFs may be acting as co-factors in melatonin suppression and in changes to the blood-brain barrier, potassium ion channels, or acetylcholine levels in the brain stem, among other possibilities. With between 2 and 4 million people afflicted with Alzheimer's in the United States alone, this will prove to be one of the most provocative research areas within the next few decades.

pp. 200-203
10 Million Baby Boomers Face Alzheimer's Epidemic

10 Million Baby Boomers Face Alzheimer's EpidemicApproximately 10 million American baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's disease in their lifetime. This will place enormous strains on the U.S. health-care system.
At least 5.2 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's. By 2010, there will be 500,000 new cases each year, and nearly one million new cases annually by 2050.
The disease is now the seventh deadliest illness in the nation.

Dr. Mercola Dr. Mercola's Comments:
In last year's Alzheimer's Facts and Figures Report, the number of Americans stricken with the disease was 5.1 million. This year's report brings us up to 5.2 million, including some 200,000 to 250,000 people under the age 65 who are inexplicably stricken with so-called "early-onset Alzheimer's."
By 2050, the report estimates that a full 10 million U.S. "baby boomers" will have come down with Alzheimer's, which translates to 1 out of 8!
The strain this will place on the already faltering U.S. federal Medicare program boggles the mind, as most people with Alzheimer's are eligible for Medicare. More than three times as much money is spent on people with Alzheimer's and other dementias than the average Medicare recipient.
Currently, Medicare spends over $148 billion per year on Alzheimer's patient care. A mere two years from now, that number is expected to reach $160 billion annually.
Alzheimer's is just as much a threat to the future of American adults as the rampant rise in autism is to our children. Clearly something is wrong, but what? Because Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, any more than autism is a "stage" that children commonly go through.
What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's disease is a chronic form of dementia that results in severe memory loss and eventually death. The average lifespan of someone with Alzheimer's is about eight years, although many can survive up to 20 years with proper care.
It's not entirely clear what causes Alzheimer's disease, but it (as well as autism) are related to thyroid hormone dysfunction, intracellular T3 (immune system cells) deficiency, and diabetes.
One type of Alzheimer's, called frontotemporal dementia, is characterized by cellular damage in the front and side regions of your brain. Researchers still have no idea what causes it—only that excess production of a tiny protein fragment called beta-amyloid starts jamming the signals between your brain synapses, blocking information flow, leading to a cascade of damaging events that end in cell death.
Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease
The risk factors for AD include genetic, environmental and dietary factors. Certain diseases also heighten your risk. People with diabetes, for example, have up to 65 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The primary genetic risk factor is the presence of the Apo lipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOE e4) allele, which is more common among Africans, Inuits, Amerindians, Northern Europeans than southern Europeans.
Primary dietary risk factors include trans-fatty acids that are found in so many processed foods (labeled as partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils). One prospective study also found that elevated homocysteine levels were associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer's. Homocysteine levels are elevated when you are deficient in vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12.
Primary environmental factors include: smoking, obesity, and exposure to fluoride, aluminum and mercury.
How to Prevent Alzheimer's
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer's. These simple lifestyle changes can help keep your brain in optimal working order well past your 60's.
  • Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables based on your nutritional type, and pay special attention to avoiding sugar

  • Eat plenty of high-quality omega-3 krill oil or fish oil. Avoid most fish (high in omega-3, but often contaminated with mercury)

  • Avoid and remove mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my Total Health Program, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

    Be careful as you could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire like I did if you see a conventional dentist to do the exchange. ONLY see a high quality biologically trained dentist or your health could get ruined.

  • Avoid aluminum, such as in antiperspirants, cookware, etc.

  • Exercise for three to five hours per week. According to one study, the odds of developing Alzheimer's were nearly quadrupled in people who were less active during their leisure time, between the ages of 20 and 60, compared with their peers.

  • Avoid flu vaccinations as they contain both mercury and aluminum!

  • Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content are known to guard against Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.

  • Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, such as traveling, learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Art Kab
Yunnan Normal University (China)
Lecturer - English and Japanese
MAT (TESOL), School for International Training
MA Advanced Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield
BA Psychology, University of California

Medication 'worsens Alzheimer's'
Anti-psychotic drugs commonly given to Alzheimer's patients often make their condition worse, a UK study suggests.
Neuroleptics provided no benefit for patients with mild behavioural problems, but were associated with a marked deterioration in verbal skills.
The research focused on 165 people with advanced Alzheimer's who were living in nursing homes in four British cities.
Up to 60% of Alzheimer's patients in nursing homes are given the drugs to control behaviour such as aggression.
The study appears in the journal Public Libary of Science Medicine.

Rita Clark's husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven years ago.
Rita, from Cleveland, said: "My husband developed a range of side effects while receiving anti-psychotic drugs.
"Since the drugs have been withdrawn, the side effects have gone and he generally seems much better and more settled.
"I'm not saying it's the same for everyone, but in my husband's case, withdrawing the drugs has led to a clear improvement in his quality of life."
The researchers, from Kings College London and the Universities of Oxford and Newcastle, found the drugs offered no long-term benefit for most patients with mild symptoms of disturbed behaviour.
But just six months of treatment was enough for patients to show a marked deterioration in their verbal fluency.
Further preliminary analysis already under way on the data suggests the use of neuroleptics may also increase death rates.
The research focused on patients living in nursing homes in Oxfordshire, Newcastle, Edinburgh and London.
All patients had been taking neuroleptics for three months. They either continued on the same medication for a further 12 months, or took a dummy pill.
Lead researcher Professor Clive Ballard, said: "It is very clear that even over a six-month period of treatment, there is no benefit from neuroleptics in treating the behaviour in people with Alzheimer's disease when the symptoms are mild.
"For people with more severe behavioural symptoms, balancing the potential benefits against adverse effects is more difficult."
Rebecca Wood, of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "These results are deeply troubling and highlight the urgent need to develop better treatments."
The trust says that neuroleptics should only continue to be prescribed long-term to dementia patients with severe behavioural problems, and then only as a last resort when non-drug methods have been tried and have failed.
Stroke risk
Neil Hunt, of the Alzheimer's Society, said previous research had also shown that anti-psychotic drugs raised the risk of stroke and death for people with dementia.
"This widespread overprescription to people with dementia must stop," he said.
"It is time we stop wasting money giving people drug treatments with no benefit and start investing in good quality dementia care."
It is estimated that 700,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK, a figure that will double in the next 30 years.
A report into the use of anti-psychotics in care homes is due to be published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia this month.
Jeremy Wright, group chairman, said: "'We urgently need to ensure people with dementia are only prescribed drugs as a last resort, not as an easy option.
"We will set out simple changes that must be made to stop this abuse when we publish our findings at the end of April."
The neuroleptics which came under analysis in the study were thioridazine (Melleril), chlorpromazine (Largactil), haloperidol (Serenace), trifluoperazine (Stelazine) and risperidone (Risperdal).