November 2009 Issue

Food for Thought: Smart Nutrition Tips to Protect the Aging Brain

What’s your biggest fear when you consider your golden years? According to surveys, the second most cited fear is the loss of mental function (second only to the threat of cancer). It’s a real concern—an estimated 8 million people in the U.S. will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by the year 2030. A neurodegenerative disease is a disorder caused by the deterioration of neurons. AD—an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly erodes memory and thinking skills—is the most common cause of dementia among older people. The hallmarks of AD are changes in the brain that include neurofibrillary tangles in the entorhinal cortex, amyloid plaques, and the loss of connections between neurons that lead to widespread damage in the brain tissue. The current treatments for this devastating disease have proven to be inadequate at best.

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