Archive for September, 2015
When I first heard about scientists making a synthetic brain out of skin cells I was skeptical.
It sounded too bizarre. Take skin cells and turn them into a brain?
Call Dr. Frankenstein. . .
But apparently it’s been done. And Ohio State researchers say it’s a “brain changer” – an artificial human brain that mimics almost everything a real brain does.
What does this mean for your brain and mine? Keep reading. . .
9 Proven Ways to Reverse Alzheimer’s
One of these 9 breakthroughs – an all-natural protein
– melts away the brain-clogging mineral that triggers
memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s –
And yet this Nobel Prize-winning discovery
is being ignored by 99% of doctors
That’s why I’d like to tell you about Carolyn. . .
This newfound ability to culture brain cells may help scientists pin down what happens in brain tissue when conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease begin.
The researchers have created what they call an “organoid.”1 The first one they’ve formulated is small, only the size of a pencil eraser. But within that small organoid are structures mirroring the sections of a human fetal brain — and it contains 99 percent of the genes that operate in the brain.
“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” says researcher Rene Anand, who teaches biological chemistry. “We’ve struggled for a long time trying to solve complex brain disease problems that cause tremendous pain and suffering. The power of this brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than (lab animals).”
The only section missing, so far, from the lab-concocted brain are blood vessels. But what it possesses mirrors what everyone carries around in his head – every structure of the brain, a spinal cord, all the different types of cells, and the format for the circuits that convey signals among neurons as well as a retina.
The piecing together of this lab-formulated brain follows from the work of Shinya Yamanaka. Yamanka won a Nobel Prize in 2012 for discovering how to turn skin cells into pluripotent cells – stem cells that can be converted into any of the organs in the body.
Once a cell is in that pluripotent state, it can become any organ – if you know what to do to support it to become that organ,” Anand says. “The brain has been the holy grail because of its enormous complexity compared to any other organ.”
Anand and his team at Ohio State aren’t the only scientists pushing the envelope in their brain investigations. Researchers at University of California-San Diego have begun experiments that entail injecting nerve growth factor directly into the brains of people suffering Alzheimer’s disease.2
Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a protein made in the brain that helps maintain a healthy supply of functioning neurons. Your supply of this protein declines as you age.
But you can’t just take an NGF pill or have it injected to help your brain. NGF can’t cross the blood brain barrier, so it would merely stay in your blood. Plus the side effects of taking NGF, which include intense back pain, are unbearable.
There are a few nutrients that support your body’s ability to generate its own NGF. Our sister company, Green Valley Natural Solutions, offers a brain health supplement with one such nutrient, Lion’s Mane mushroom extract. Studies indicate it improves cognitive ability.
The trials in California, involving direct injection of NGF into the brain, show that brain cells of people with dementia are stimulated by NGF to grow new axons (branches that help neurons communicate) and start functioning better. And though the therapy hasn’t produced anything close to a cure, it shows that a brain suffering Alzheimer’s can respond to a treatment that involves raising NGF levels.
Of course, a brain-healthy lifestyle is your best bet for keeping your memory in working order. For instance, research shows exercise may slow your loss of NGF as you age.3 But conventional medicine is making important breakthroughs in being able to help a faltering brain. I’ll keep you in the loop as these experiments proceed.
If you find yourself struggling with memory loss lately, don’t lose heart. New research from UCLA — using a marine snail, of all things — shows you may be able to retrieve memories you thought were lost for good.
It’s exciting news for folks experiencing the early stages of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Read on to discover what the UCLA scientists found … and how you can actually reverse memory loss.
A Note from Lee Euler, Editor & Publisher
Surprised Brain Scientists Discover…
The Scary Reason
You’re Suddenly So Forgetful
— and How to Reverse the Problem:
Are your new “memory lapses” and sudden forgetfulness normal for your age? Or are these the early signs of something more serious?
Brace yourself for a surprise, my friend…
Brain scientists have just discovered that the majority of age-related forgetfulness has nothing to do with “age” at all!
Instead, they are reporting an epidemic of memory loss being caused by 4 secret factors that are destroying brain cells in seniors and 20-somethings alike.
You can stop all 4 of these brain-destroyers in their tracks — and actually reverse their progression. In this Special Report, a leading M.D. details how to stimulate the self-repair and revitalization of your brain…
One thoroughly-documented research study concluded:
“Their brains performed as if they were 14 YEARS YOUNGER!”
Wouldn’t you love it if your brain functioned like that — for life? The very encouraging news is: There’s a lot you can do to keep your brain young! Take a look at the groundbreaking research which proves it.
For years, neurologists thought our long-term memories were stored in the synapses of the brain’s neurons. Synapses are the long, root-like connections between brain cells that carry information from one neuron to another.
When Alzheimer’s disease strikes, it attacks the synapses first. And because memory loss is one of the first signs of the disease, it seemed an obvious conclusion that memories lived in the synapses.
And, once the synapse was destroyed, the memory contained therein was gone for good.
Researchers from the UCLA Brain Research Institute now believe otherwise.
A recent study, using marine snails called aplysia, demonstrated that “long-term memory is not stored at the synapse,” but rather in the nucleus of the neuron.1
Senior researcher David Glanzman, a UCLA professor of neurobiology, says, “That’s a radical idea, but that’s where the evidence leads. The nervous system appears to be able to regenerate lost synaptic connections. If you can restore the synaptic connections, the memory will come back. It won’t be easy, but I believe it’s possible.”1
Great News if You’ve Got Early-Stage Alzheimer’s
Think of the neuron, where a memory is stored, as a closet … and think of the synapse as a master key. It can access any neuron it wants.
If a synapse dies due to disuse, disease, or brain trauma, it’s like losing the key to the closet.
But you can generate a new synapse, like replacing a lost key, that will reopen the neuron and give you access once again to the memory stored inside.
According to Prof. Glanzman, “As long as the neurons are still alive, the memory will still be there, which means you may be able to recover some of the lost memories in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.”
Unfortunately, late-stage Alzheimer’s disease destroys the neuron completely. Once that happens, memories cannot be retrieved. Meaning early treatment – not to say prevention – is urgent.
Lifelong Learning Helps You
So … how exactly do you grow new synapses?
“It won’t be easy,” said Prof. Glanzman. “But I believe it’s possible.”
You see, when your brain is in the process of forming long-term memories, it is actually creating proteins to grow new synaptic connections.
In the process of learning something new, your brain goes through the same process. So, being a lifelong learner may not only increase your knowledge, but help you gain access to your “old” knowledge.
On top of that, you can also take steps to prevent synaptic decline. It’s much easier to maintain thick, elastic synapses that are strong and resilient — and able to transmit information and memories for years to come — than it is to grow brand new ones.
As a regular Natural Health Insiders reader, you know that exercise, a healthy diet, and consistent mental activity are all huge steps toward warding off Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
A few other ways to maintain prime synapse health are:
- Take two grams of fish or krill oil daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), protect against damage to synapses and also help to restore synaptic density.2
- Supplement with magnesium.
Studies have shown that increasing brain magnesium with two grams of the compound magnesium-L-threonate (MgT) increases synaptic density, helping to improve cognitive function and prevent the decay of synapses over time.4
While leafy green vegetables and nuts can be great sources of this important mineral, much of the magnesium is leached out of the soil due to herbicide use.5 Avoid low quality supplements that contain magnesium stearate, which is not bioavailable magnesium, but a potentially hazardous additive. Also be aware that magnesium supplements can provoke diarrhea in some people.
- Increase physical exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow to your brain, providing essential nutrients. A recent study from Georgia Tech also indicates that just 20 minutes of weight lifting increases working memory.6
- Cognitive activity.
Keep at those puzzles and strategy games like chess, and keep learning by reading, taking classes, learning a second language, or learning to play a musical instrument. Scientists have proven over and over that these activities keep your synapses firing and growing strong.3 Challenge yourself, stretch a little.
If you’ve been experiencing memory loss recently, it may not be too late to get those synapses firing again and restore access to long-term memories you can’t seem to remember anymore.
I’ll keep you updated on the studies from UCLA and Dr. Glanzman. I believe, with all the recent discoveries about neuroplasticity, new ways to regrow neurons may not be far behind.
1 Memories may not be stored in the synapses; lost memories might be able to be restored.
2 Does high fructose corn syrup harm the brain?
3 “Use it or lose it?” Study suggests mentally stimulating activities may reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
4 Slutsky, I., et al., Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron, vol. 65 no. 2 (2010), 165-177.
5 Magnesium: An invisible deficiency that could be harming your health. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx
6 What weightlifting for just 20 minutes does to your brain.
- Take two grams of fish or krill oil daily.
Everybody assumes the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is on the increase. Even as early as the 1980s dementia was described as “The Silent Epidemic.”
But new research suggests that far from your risk of dementia going up, it’s actually going down.
Find that hard to believe? So do I. Let’s see what this study actually says and if it really demonstrates a risk reduction. . .
Without any drugs — British researchers just reversed diabetes
Robert Ashbaugh was horrified. He was 59 years old, he could best be described as “lanky” and his weight was perfectly normal for his age… And yet here he was–sitting in a doctor’s office hearing three words that seemed like a life sentence–forever changing his goals, ambitions and dreams.
“You have diabetes.”
What happened to Robert in just 11 days is nothing short of miraculous. But I want you to see his results for yourself. I want you to experience these same results, too. Click here now to discover how diabetes can be reversed and the exact protocol you can use to free yourself from its grasp.
The research was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington DC in July, 2015 by Carol Derby, associate professor of neurology at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Americans are Developing Dementia
At a Reduced Rate
The researchers looked at 971 New Yorkers born between 1916 and 1935, following their health condition between 1993 and 2014. Those born after 1930 had an 18% lower risk of developing dementia compared to those born before 1930.
Dementia developed at a rate of 0.4% per year in the younger group compared to 2.2% in the older group.
The improvement was attributed to advances in heart health over the years.
Professor Derby said, “We did see the same [declining] trend in cardiovascular disease and that may explain part of the decrease we found in dementia.”
This isn’t the only research to suggest a falling risk.
A population study of elderly Americans compared data from 1982 and 1999. The number of people with severe dementia fell by 310,000 between the two periods, from a prevalence of 5.7% to 2.9%. The researchers found the results “surprising.”
A second study compared survey data from 14,500 Americans over age 70 between 1993 and 2002. In the earlier year 12.2% had cognitive impairment compared to 8.7% in the later year.
Three European studies suggest that something similar is happening elsewhere in the world.
Studies in Europe Support American Findings
The Rotterdam population-based cohort study compared 5,727 dementia-free people in 1990 with 1,769 in 2000. The subjects were aged 60 to 90. Each person was followed for five years, meaning the study concluded in 2005.
Of the 1990 group, 286 developed dementia during their five-year follow-up, compared with 49 in the year 2000 group. The percentage of people diagnosed with dementia was lower in the latter group, leading the researchers to conclude that “our study suggests that dementia incidence has decreased between 1990 and 2005.”
Another study, this one from Stockholm, looked at dementia rates over 20 years and concluded that the “incidence of dementia may have decreased…”
Finally, a study from England that looked at the incidence of dementia over two decades concluded that, “Later born populations have a lower risk of prevalent dementia than those born earlier in the past century.”
Researchers and commentators believe these findings are down to better health education, higher standards of living, greater physical activity, declines in the rate of stroke, better prevention and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors and disease, and greater use of neuro-protective medication.
Some of these theories fly in the face of what we know, or thought we knew, about modern lifestyles compared to those of older generations. For example, it’s widely thought that people these days are less physically active. That would argue for a higher dementia rate.
And readers of this newsletter know what I think of so-called “neuro-protective medication.” (If you don’t know, the answer is, “not much.”)
But the authors are on target about the treatment and prevention of heart disease. It’s much more effective these days. And that’s probably a factor in falling rates of dementia.
On the other hand, rates of obesity and diabetes are much, much worse, and we’re pretty certain these modern plagues are closely related to dementia. Again, you’d expect dementia rates to go up.
I have to say that the elderly people I remember from my childhood seldom got dementia, until the very end of life when they were clearly dying from other causes. In fairness I have to note there were fewer old people — on average, folks just didn’t live as long back then.
This is anecdotal evidence, of course. But I can tell you for sure we didn’t have nursing homes packed with people who couldn’t remember their own names or recognize their own children. I’ll own up to being confounded by the reports of a falling Alzheimer’s rate.
Obesity and Diabetes Threaten Gains
Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, agrees that people in the developed world are developing dementia at a reduced rate. She believes this is mainly because of improvements in heart health that also benefit the brain.
However she warns these gains could be reversed with the increasing rate of obesity and diabetes, both of which are linked to Alzheimer’s.
While the risk may be decreasing – although it will take bigger studies over longer time frames to confirm this – the numbers of people with dementia will still rise sharply because of the aging population.
The fastest growing segment of Americans are those over 80. There are now 9 million in this group and growing. Even if there is a reduced rate of dementia, it won’t be noticeable because it will be submerged by the increasing number of dementia patients.
In other words — it could just be that most people in, say, 1960 simply didn’t live long enough to get Alzheimer’s. Now, with improved care — especially for heart disease — vast numbers of people are living into their eighties and nineties, the prime age groups for dementia.
That study where there was five years of follow-up would fail to capture this fact. You would have to monitor people until they simply get old enough to fall victim to the disease.
This tallies with a thought I’ve been pondering these last few weeks: With the tools we have now (sleep, exercise, certain supplements), we don’t really prevent dementia – we just put it off.
For a long time, I hope! Until someone stumbles on to an outright cure, delay is fine with me.
One of life’s bitter ironies is that modern medicine has had so much success against heart disease — a comparatively quick, neat way to die — it just means most of us will succumb to either cancer or dementia, which are NOT neat and quick. Life is longer for most of us, but the end is not easier.
It’s one of the more troubling threats to the brain: the small but real possibility that a microbe can devour your brain tissue.
Admittedly, the chance that the amoebic parasite Naegleria fowleri will ever get into your skull and make like Pac-Man — chomping on brain cells – is pretty remote.
But the amoeba may be in your tap water. And that’s a concern. Keep reading for the details. . .
HEALTH ALERT! Estimated to Kill 300 Million by 2050
It kills 23,000 unsuspecting people ever year. And it’s immune to
everything modern medicine has thrown at it.
The situation is so dire the World Health Organization is right now,
creating a global action plan to combat it.
You are in imminent danger…
Modern medicine just doesn’t work like it used to. Many of the most common medicines doctors give to patients to fight infections no longer work.
What are you going to do about it?
There ARE simple, easy solutions that work where drugs do not.
Learn the remedies that are your secret weapon against disease.
In fact, you may be able to boost your immune system using ingredients you already have in your cupboard.
It doesn’t happen often, but every year a few people do fall victim to this parasite that kills by eating its way through brain tissue. Recently, government officials in Louisiana have been alarmed at tests detecting this amoeba in two of the state’s water systems.1
Fortunately, you can’t contract this disease by drinking contaminated water. But if water containing the parasite goes up your nose and into your sinuses, allowing it to travel up into your brain, your life may be in danger.
In 2012 researchers found that this amoeba can strike if you use untreated tap water from a neti pot to irrigate your sinuses. I use a neti pot myself from time to time, and I know a lot of other people who do. It’s the most effective treatment for sinus problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that between 2005 and 2014, 35 people were infected with N. Fowleri. Thirty-one people were infected from swimming in lakes and streams, three people got the amoeba from sinus irrigation with neti pots and one person got it from a backyard slip-n-slide. 2
While you shouldn’t get too paranoid about being infected with this rare brain-eating amoeba, there are several common sense steps you can take to avoid the risk.
The parasite lives in the warm freshwater found in rivers and lakes. It does not grow in salt water.
“It can be forced up the nose, cross into the brain and begin to destroy brain tissue, unfortunately leading to death within a very short period of time,” Jonathan Yoder told CBS News.3 He’s an epidemiologist at the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you live in an area where the amoeba has been detected, the CDC says you should lower your infection risk with these tips4:
- If you irrigate your sinuses with a neti pot, use distilled or sterile water or boil water for at least a minute – for three minutes if you’re at an elevation higher than 6,500 feet. (Let the water cool before you use the pot.) Don’t rely on the addition of salt to the water to kill the amoeba. It doesn’t work. I use distilled water, myself.
- Don’t put your head underwater when you take a bath. Again, this precaution is only necessary in areas where the microbe has been detected.
- Don’t let kids play with sprinklers or hoses where they can inadvertently allow water up their noses.
- Before using tap water, run the water for at least 5 minutes to clear possible amoebae that might be lurking in the pipes.
- Thoroughly disinfect your swimming pool before and after every time you use it.
- If you have small wading pools or hard plastic pools, scrub them out and let them completely dry out before using them again.
Although the amoeba generally seems to cause problems in the southern United States, at least one person has contracted this disease and died in Minnesota. So the CDC admits it doesn’t understand what factors make some people apparently more susceptible to the amoeba or even which parts of the country might be in the most danger.
Keep the peril in perspective, however – N. Fowleri has been killing about three people or so a year, while drowning, on average, claims about 3,400 victims annually in the U.S.
So, be safe – don’t go scuba diving in your bathtub. But don’t stay up late at night counting amoebae either.
The invention of X-rays revolutionized medicine. Once doctors could see inside the body without cutting it open, their diagnostic powers vastly increased.
And now, if some neurologists have their way, getting a snapshot of the inside of your brain during a doctor visit may become commonplace.
But will it be worthwhile? Here’s the inside story. . .
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According to a research report coordinated at UCLA,1 clinicians know enough about the brain to use brain images to identify alterations that indicate the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain-threatening conditions. These image-promoting neurologists believe that doctors can use the pictures as a powerful medical tool during consultations with patients.
They argue that when they explain to patients how their brains are starting to change and become less functional, these images can inspire enough fear to convince them to adopt the lifestyle changes needed to improve brain health.
For instance, consider the shrinkage that occurs in the hippocampus (a brain structure key to forming memories) when a brain begins to enter the danger zone of memory loss. Brain imaging can clearly reveal this loss in size even before the patient notices her memory is slipping.
Show a patient the concrete evidence of tissue loss in the hippocampus, this reasoning goes, and that person will become more likely to follow a doctor’s advice to exercise, get more sleep, lose weight, stop smoking and eat less junk food – lifestyle factors that affect your brain health.
“(This)… will have a huge impact in the future of diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, since there is compelling evidence for the baseline size of hippocampus as a key determinant of risk for future cognitive decline, and since many lifestyle factors can cause atrophy or expansion in the volume of this critical brain structure,” says researcher Majid Fotuhi, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University.
In Dr. Fotuhi’s view, a brain picture is worth more than a thousand words of persuasive description of how someone’s brain is faltering.
But a big question looms over all this enthusiasm for brain imaging: What about the radiation exposure you might experience during some procedures for imaging the brain?
Daniel Amen, a doctor who has long been a proponent of using brain imaging as a diagnostic tool, argues for what’s called Single Photon Emission Computer Tomography (SPECT) to create detailed pictures of people’s brains.
Amen says that this technique doesn’t involve a huge dose of radiation. A pair of SPECT scans entails the equivalent of up to about 1millisievert (mSv).2 That’s about a third of what each of us encounters every year from “background” radiation in the environment.
But if you begin to have a procession of SPECT scans, to see if your brain is improving or further deteriorating, the radiation starts to add up quickly.
On the other hand, the scientists at UCLA and their colleagues favor the use of MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) for making diagnostic pictures. MRIs use radio waves and magnetic fields to create their images. They don’t entail ionizing radiation the way X-rays or SPECT does.
Mobilizing Your Motivation
There’s a lot of research showing that you can lower your Alzheimer’s risk by leading a healthier lifestyle.3 If you need a picture of your brain to convince you to do things like eat more fruits and vegetables or start exercising, then it may be worthwhile to let your doctor prescribe an imaging test. But I’d stay away from procedures like SPECT that involve significant doses of radiation. That seems too risky to me.