If I told you that 1 in every 8 Americans over 65 suffer from an incurable disease, what would you say? Perhaps, you might say “that’s too bad” or how “unfortunate”. But, what if one of these people happened to be a close relative of yours? I believe your response would be quite different.
The Alzheimer’s tsunami is here, and it’s about to get much worse. This disease is the most common form of dementia.
“…an umbrella term describing a variety of disease and conditions that develop when nerve cells, called neurons, causes changes in one’s memory, behavior and ability to think clearly. In Alzheimer’s disease, these brain changes eventually impair an individual’s ability to carry such basic bodily functions as walking and swallowing. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.”
What makes this disease particularly scary, is the 78 million American baby boomers entering the prime age for the onset of this killer.
Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or at leisure.
- Confusion with time and place.
- New problems with words or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
Currently, there’s no treatment to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s. The FDA has approved five prescription drugs for treating the disease symptoms. However, these approved drugs only provide temporary relief from Alzheimer’s, without any lasting benefits.
Are There Any Natural Approaches To Managing The Symptoms?
Dr. Giovanni Appendino, is a Professor of Chemistry with an Italian university. His research focuses on the use of natural compounds in preventing medical and cell biology problems. Dr. Appendino believes the spice turmeric, a staple of Indian cuisine, can help manage or prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. He bases his conclusion on recent laboratory studies with mice, and evidence of low rates of Alzheimer’s disease in India.
An article on the Mother Nature Network, makes the following statement regarding turmeric:
“The compound curcumin, only found in turmeric, is a widely used spice found in Indian food…The bright yellow spice is familiar to fans of curry dishes, but has been used in other preparations as well. For centuries, it has been used in Asian medicine.”
While Dr. Appendino is a great scientist, his opinion is based on the results of lab studies on mice. What’s really needed, is a controlled, clinical study of the effects on turmeric in humans. Presently, no such studies have been performed.
In fact, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is rising in India. A 2009 article appearing in The Times of India, noted:
“Scientists had earlier said that by 2020 around 10 million Indians above age 65 would suffer from dementia. By 2040, the number would increase to around 22 million.”
Though India has a huge population, estimated in 2012 at 1.22 billion, the global increase in Alzheimer’s is affecting that country as well.
The Bottom Line: I believe research in Alzheimer’s disease must continue with a sense of urgency. It’s not just an American problem, it’s a global health problem. The thought of a natural approach using turmeric is appealing, but still has to be proven with clinical studies on humans. So until then, I’ll find a good restaurant and have a wonderful Indian meal. Would you like to join me?
It’s your life, live well!