We all know that researchers have yet to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. But what fewer people realize is that researchers are actually still trying to determine what causes the disease in the first place. Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are multifaceted issues that stem from a variety of contributing factors. So there's not a one-size-fits-all explanation of the cause (which, of course, makes a cure harder to find as well). As these researchers identify more and more of these causes, though, it helps us know how to treat the illness. We're able to find ways to tackle each cause individually and take protecting our cognitive health as we age into our own hands. Such is the case with a new finding from McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
These researchers have been investigating some of the differences between early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). Early-onset Alzheimer's is often related to a build-up of amyloid beta plaques, which you've probably heard of before. But this doesn't adequately explain the progression of LOAD, which affects over 5 million people in the U.S.
The researchers believe that LOAD may be more related to some of the specific changes that occur with aging. They've been focusing in particular on energy metabolism, changes in which may significantly affect the brain. For a study published in Scientific Reports, the researchers tested cells from patients with LOAD and from healthy control patients. They examined how well the cells could convert glucose into fuel for the mitochondria and then how well the mitochondria were able to utilize that fuel.
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Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the LOAD cells had diminished capacities in both areas. The researchers noted that these findings coincide with what we already know about the effects of oxidative stress on the body and mitochondrial metabolism in particular. But they also found that some of the differences in the healthy and diseased cells were specific to the patients with LOAD regardless of age.
I'm not at all surprised by these findings. I think mitochondrial function is vitally important to your health. The good news is that there's a lot to do to support your mitochondria. And if you do, you'll feel better all over. In fact, I think protecting your mitochondria is one of the best things you can do to shield your health from the effects of aging and oxidative stress.
I've written a lot about mitochondria function and energy metabolism, so you can find plenty of information about how to support it in on my website. A lot of healthy habits that you already know about will help. But it's important to know how healthy your mitochondria are rather than just eating a salad and hoping for the best. That's why I made determining this the basis of my Bio-Energy Testing process. You can find a list of doctors and clinics that offer this test at www.bioenergytesting.com. The results of this test will help you understand how healthy your mitochondrial metabolism is - and subsequent tests can tell you if the changes you're making to live a healthy lifestyle are working. And, this study suggests the results also can give you information about one of your risk factors for LOAD. That's vital information as you plan for your future.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD