You probably already know that reducing stress is an important piece of the puzzle in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. But new research with mice has found that an alternative therapy often used to promote relaxation could actually prove therapeutic for patients who already have Alzheimer’s. This is an exciting development, as there are currently very few effective treatment options once Alzheimer’s has developed.
This procedure didn’t just produce regenerative activity in the mice’s hippocampuses. It also reduced their beta-amyloid plaques, a significant contributor to Alzheimer’s symptoms.
This study focused on giving mice acupuncture. Deep brain stimulation has already proven to be beneficial for treating issues such as Parkinson’s disease. But it’s usually accomplished through electrodes implanted in the brain. Acupuncture, which utilizes microneedles, is a much less invasive treatment option.
The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and it’s one of the first and hardest-hit victims of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers in this study were hopeful that stimulating this region through micro-needles would affect mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
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The results were very promising. Not only did the beta-amyloid plaque deposits decrease in the mice’s brains, the mice actually performed better on memory tasks than they had before receiving the treatment. This indicates that the hippocampus may actually be capable of regenerating itself when stimulated. The researchers are excited about the implications of these results. They’re hopeful that this intervention strategy will translate to humans.
Of course, you know it’s better to avoid Alzheimer’s disease in the first place than to try to treat it. Acupuncture may encourage relaxation, but there’s nothing relaxing about losing your memory. I’ve written quite a bit about strategies you can use to lower your risk of experiencing cognitive decline as you age.
Some of my top recommendations are to exercise regularly, replace any deficient hormones, get plenty of sleep, home ozone therapy, mental activities, and eat a diet high in protein and vegetables and low in simple carbohydrates and saturated fats. I also recommend taking concentrated nutrients, such as those in my Super Immune QuickStart and Advanced Memory Formula to keep your memory in top shape. And, of course, minimize stress by relaxing when possible. If the idea of having tiny needles in your skin doesn’t appeal to you, try meditation, yoga, a massage, or even curling up with a good book. You’ll get bonus points if any of these activities are new to you – trying new things as you age also offers some protective benefits to your brain.
Frank Shallenberger, MD
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