The following questions about Alzheimer's were submitted by the audience and over the Internet at the Cure Alzheimer's Fund Symposium - Taking Control of Alzheimer’s Through Research – The Roadmap to Therapies.
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium members including Chairman Rudy Tanzi, Steve Wagner, and Sangram S. Sisodia.
Q. Is there evidence that anesthesia has a causative relationship to AD?
We have shown that that the general inhalant anesthetic can accelerate Alzheimer’s plaques. As such, we personally recommend using desflurane instead. However, there is not yet enough data to suggest isoflurane should not be used any longer in the OR.
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Q. Does a family history of stroke or other vascular problems have any influence on a person getting Alzheimer’s?
Yes. Alzheimer's risk is closely connected to cardiac and vascular health. Insults to the brain brought on by neurovascular disease and stoke can trigger and accelerate AD.
Q. Must the exercise be quick-pace aerobic – is walking enough?
Walking is much better than sitting. But aerobic exercise is better.
Q Is there a relationship between obesity (diet) and Alzheimer’s?
Obesity in middle age does significantly increase a person's chances of succumbing to dementia later in life.
Obesity is a risk factor for AD—again—what’s bad for heart is bad for brain.
Q. Does nutrition matter?
Yes indeed. A heart-healthy diet will very likely reduce your chances of succumbing to dementia later in life.
Q. Has it been determined that Alzheimer’s is definitely a genetic disease?
The mechanisms of Alzheimer's are certainly connected to a variety of genes, and researching these genes does help us learn more about how to defeat it. But that doesn't mean that genes directly cause the disease. So far, only in rare cases do we see a single gene mutation singlehandedly cause Alzheimer's to develop. Our Alzheimer’s Genome Project will ultimately show us how many cases involve subtle genetic variants that only influence one’s susceptibility versus single gene mutations that cause the disease by a particular age with certainty. For now, we just don't know.
To read more question and answers go to this page on the Cure Alzheimer's Fund website.
Cure Alzheimer's Fund. One hundred percent of every donation goes into Alzheimer's research. The Founding Families of the CAF pay the general and administrative costs of the fund out of their own pockets.
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room