Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease: What Indigenous Populations Can Teach Us
Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? The million-dollar question.
Rates of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, are only increasing in developed nations as scientists race to find treatments and identify preventive strategies. This is a hotbed of research and hopefully answers emerge. The US and other developed nations are “greying populations”, meaning our birth rates are low, and our population’s share of elderly people is increasing. Age is a huge risk factor for dementia, so given that we are a greying population and don’t know how to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease or other kinds of dementia really and there are no treatments that can significantly reverse the process once it starts, well that’s a formula for a health crisis. Not to mention that caring for someone with dementia is extremely expensive. We will have to consider the cost of that in the context of a health system that is unaffordable for most. And who will pay for that?
In this episode of Causes or Cures, I chatted with Dr. Margaret Gatz about her research published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association titled: Prevalence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in indigenous Bolivian forager-horticulturalist. In the podcast she tells us more about these indigenous populations, including their lifestyle, diet and educational levels, how she conducted her research to assess their risks and rates of dementia, how their rates compare to the developed world, some intriguing findings, and what developed nations with growing rates of Alzheimer’s disease can potentially learn from them in terms of risk factors for dementia and prevention. She also talks about these populations in relation to heavy deforestation and tells us how they faired during COVID-19, which some of you might find interesting.
Dr. Gatz is a professor of psychology, gerontology and preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Lenoard Davis School of Gerontology. Studies in her Gatz lab include age-related changes in cognition, depression, personality and preventive factors for Alzheimer’s Disease and other kinds of dementia.
To listen to the podcast, please click here. Anyone who is interested in how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia should listen.
While you’re here, here are a few other podcasts you can check out:
What is the Regulatory Capture of Science & why it is concerning for Science yet a win for Industry: Click here to learn more.
Why out-of-control prescribing caused the opioid epidemic and not economic distress (which is frequently cited): Click here to learn more.
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