When we lose a train of thought or forget something, we often refer to it as a senior moment. That ‘senior moment’ is referring to a case of dementia or even Alzheimer’s.
Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s
Dementia, also known as a major neurocognitive disorder, is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember, affecting a person’s daily functioning.
The Alzheimer disease, or Alzheimer’s, is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility.
Alzheimer disease facts and figures
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Between the year 2000 and 2017, death from heart disease have decreased by 9%, while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 145%; 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia characteristic disorder. Alzheimer’s kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined; 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease.
In 2019, Alzheimer’s and other dementia will cost the nation $290 billion, and by 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.
Thus far, with all the tools that the medical profession has in its disposal, diagnosing Alzheimer’s occurs much later than the pathology tells us. Because Alzheimer’s takes a long time to develop, it could be that the diagnosis occurs 20 years after the disease has been evolving in the person’s brain.
Acting the startup nation it has become to be known, Israel’s researchers are deeply involved in seeking cure for Alzheimer’s. One such researcher is Prof. Michal Schnaider Beeri.
This week, at Friends of Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer‘s early Sunday breakfast get together, graciously hosted by Jean and Jerry Friedman at the Hillcrest Country Club, Los Angeles, California, Prof. Schnaider Beeri updated Sheba’s supporters of her Alzheimer’s research progression.
Prof. Michal Schnaider Beeri, born in Brazil, is the Director of the Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center at Sheba and a Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, a recognized world leader in the study of Alzheimer’s disease. She won numerous professional awards, has over 140 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals and has been funded continuously by the US National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s Association, and other prestigious foundations. The main focus of Prof. Schnaider Beeri’s work is discovering and manipulating factors, such as diabetes, to maintain healthy brain aging without Alzheimer’s.
According to Prof. Schnaider Beeri, with less regulations and obstacles, Israel is a comfortable research environment. Using her Brazilian lingo, she call this comfortable environment ‘ginga,’ meaning, allowing to wiggle your way around and through to get to where you want to get.
At present Prof. Schnaider Beeri is conducting a study to define the disease’s symptoms, in which 2000 people are participating who do not yet have Alzheimer’s symptoms but are risk-prone.
The right lifestyle is a crucial factor in preventing Alzheimer’s
While a lack of physical activity, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, lack of cognitive activity, and depressions are developing Alzheimer’s potentials, other factors play a role as well.
For instance, women are more Alzheimer’s prone. The brain is full of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, receptors. When estrogen is depleted, the brain suffers, and Alzheimer’s risk increases. So is in the case of insulin, the hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, by promoting the absorption of carbohydrates, especially glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells. When the body is insulin resistant, the brain suffers. When the Brain’s neurons stop speaking to each other, and the amyloids, aggregates of proteins in the brain stop reacting, Alzheimer has a fertile grounds to develop. To top it all Alzheimer has a genetic component as well.
If an Israeli researcher finds the cure, or at least effective preventative measures to completely halt the progression of the Alzheimer disease, it will be a humongous medical landmark. Just as it was when Dr. Jonas Salk, the son of Daniel and Dora (née Press) Salk, Russian immigrants Ashkenazi Jews, who on March 26, 1953, announced on a national radio show that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling and potentially deadly infectious polio disease.
With their discoveries and inventions, Israel’s medical professionals have significantly contributed to the health of the entire world.
The Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, also Tel HaShomer Hospital, is the largest hospital in Israel, located in the Tel HaShomer neighborhood of Ramat Gan, in the Tel Aviv District. In 2019, Newsweek ranked it as the 10th-best hospital in the world.
With ‘ginga’ research leeway, with startup ambitions and the zest to make the world healthier, could Prof. Michal Schnaider Beeri break Alzheimer’s cure grounds?