So a team from UCSF has created an artificial intelligence capable of predicting alzheimer development six years down the road with over 90% accuracy. But Alzheimers is a complex disease with many possible causes. So, if you had six years of peace before Alzheimers set in, what would you do? If it was me, I’d try to do everything that I could to prevent it from developing.

That’s where preventative health care comes in. See, there are a number of factors that are linked to the development of Alzheimers. Even though no one knows for sure the nature of these linkages, getting rid of as many possible influencing factors would maximize the chances of not developing Alzheimers. Especially for preventative measures that don’t cost anything (or have only minimal cost) and would have proven additional health benefits, I think preventative medicine is the only really effective option you have once you’ve been doomed to develop Alzheimers. So what exactly does that mean?

  1. There’s a hypothesis out there that Alzheimers is a form of diabetes – according to this hypothesis, in diabetes, your cells are surrounded by so much sugar that they develop a resistance to sugar and can’t get enough energy. In Alzheimers, the nerves develop this resistance to sugar and as a result don’t have the energy they need to work correctly. So if you fix your diet – for example, by cutting down on sugars and replacing them with whole grains instead – you might be able to slow down the development of Alzheimers or even prevent it altogether.
  2. Another hypothesis is that there are ‘bad’ proteins that collect in your brain – the same way plaque collects and builds up over time on your teeth – which your brain can’t get rid of, and that leads to Alzheimers. To minimize this risk, the simplest solution would be to cut animal proteins – plant-based protein sources may not be as dense as meats, but they provide more ‘good’ proteins and fewer ‘bad’ proteins.
  3. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis are factors linked with Alzheimers. Cutting animal fats, milk and dairy, choosing cold-pressed oils (without frying them!), and ensuring that nutrient intake of minerals that could stick to your blood vessels is as low as possible, could help to mitigate against these risks.
  4. Another cause may be disuse of the brain. To reduce this risk, you need to make sure you use that brain power – so start learning something new that you enjoy, or that you always wanted to do, to make sure your brain is still capable of building new connections :).

… I hope I’ve demonstrated my point. Eating less sugar, more veggies, and continuous learning are all ‘good’ things that we should be doing anyway. So if anything, perhaps an early diagnosis of Alzheimers will be a wake-up call to get your life back in order!

More information:
Artificial Intelligence Can Detect Alzheimer’s Disease in Brain Scans Six Years Before a Diagnosis
UCSF researchers programmed a machine-learning algorithm to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The algorithm used PET scans – a common type of brain scan.

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