MARWAN SABBAGH, M.D. (PHOENIX, ARIZONA) a board-certified neurologist and geriatric neurologist, is one of the nation’s leading experts in Alzheimer’s and dementia, and has been interviewed by AARP, NPR, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Prevention and other national media.
Dr. Sabbagh is the author of The Alzheimer’s Answer, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Handbook, and coauthor of Fighting for My Life. His current book is titled Strong Heart, Sharp Mind published in 2022.
Dr. Sabbagh is a leading investigator for many prominent national Alzheimer’s treatment trials. Dr. Sabbagh is on the editorial board for Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s and Dementia TRCI.
He is editor in chief of Neurology and Therapy. He has authored and co-authored over four hundred medical and scientific articles on Alzheimer’s research. He has been recognized with numerous awards and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology since 2004.
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Here are the items of discussion on this interview:
Dr. Sabbagh’s Background
- Comes from a family of doctors
- Went to medical school for neurology
- Has devoted 30 years to alzheimers research
- He learned about the connection between the brain and the heart
What’s The Progression Of Alzheimers Disease?
- There is the obvious circulation that connects the heart and brain
- They found that keeping your heart healthy also keeps your brain healthy
- Alzheimers start with accumulation of ameloids in the brain.
- 42 amino acid amyloid starts to accumulate in the brain
- Starts to aggregate, then starts to develop overaccumulated tangles of amyloid in the brain
- Protein aggregations in the brain start 20 years before dementia
- PET scan is most effective, but its quite expensive
- Spinal taps can help as well, but these aren’t recommended
- In one year there will be a new test that detects levels of beta-amyloid in the blood
- Lifestyle and recommendations provided are some of the best ways to prevent alzheimers
Biomarker & Genetic Risk of Alzhiemers Disease
- Elevated homocysteine can cause health problems including heart attacks…lower b9 and b12.
- This is an easy test, ideal range is under 8.
- ApoE genotype: increases genetic risk for heart disease and for alzheimers
- ApoE4 is the bad genotype. 20% of the population has at least one copy of ApoE4 (heterozygote), this increases risk of alzheimers by 3-4 times.
- 2% of the population has both copies of ApoE4 (homozygote). This increases risk by 18X.
- 60-65% of all Alzheimers patients are ApoE4 carriers
Why It’s Important To Lower Hypertension
- 60 million people in US have hypertension
- Strong overlaps between hypertension and obesity, metabolic syndrome and maybe diet
- Very pervasive, can cause cardiomyopathy, or cause a thickening of the heart
- Can also damage kidneys and stroke
- Hypertension and cholesterol come together to cause plaques
Prevent Alzheimers Lifestyle Factor #1: Physical Exercise
- Increases circulation, increases BDNF which can regenerate brain cells – growth synapses and improve trafficking
- American heart association recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week and 150 minutes of low intensity
- Include more movement in your life
Prevent Alzheimers Lifestyle Factor #2: Mediterranean Diet
- For risk reduction, mediterranean diet is best
- For symptomatic dementia, keto can be helpful
Prevent Alzheimers Lifestyle Factor #3: Good Sleep
- You clear amyloid when you sleep
- Good sleep is important for brain health
Prevent Alzheimers Lifestyle Factor #4: Reduce Stress
- Experts suggest 75% of diseases may be linked to chronic stress
- Stress raises cortisol, which also disrupts sleep
Prevent Alzheimers Lifestyle Factor #5: Cognitive Stimulation
- Sudoko, crossword puzzles and other brain stimulating games can be helpful
- Experts don’t know the level of intensity that’s best, or the length of time thats best for brain stimulation
- If you stop doing these exercises, then you lose the benefits
Prevent Alzheimers Lifestyle Factor #6: Social Connections
- Social integration and connections are extremely important
- We must address loneliness
What’s The Future Of Alzheimers?
- Dr Sabbagh thinks we can convert Alzheimers to a chronic disease instead of a terminal one
- Similar to how we did with HIV, multiple sclerosis and others
- Blood tests will be used for screening and detection
- Prevention research is going to improve even more in the next few years
Where To Find Dr. Sabbagh?
- He works at the Barrow Neurological Institute
- Get the Strong Heart, Sharp Mind book
- Written 7 books which can be found on Amazon
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