An athlete at rest
A chronic reduction in blood sugar to the brain is suspected of instigating some types of Alzheimer's, according to new research by scientists at Northwestern. Blood sugar level is impacted by both blood flow (not enough flow or slow highly viscous blood) and also some conditions like diabetes.
When the amount of metabolized sugars delivered to the brain for energy is reduced, the brain reacts by redirecting resources. The protein e1F2alpha changes, causing a boost in production of an enzyme that switches on the development of the protein masses that in turn discourage additional blood flow and energy to the brain.
In this scenario Alzheimer's represents the toxic byproduct of this runaway, degrading resource management process that ultimately dampens all neuron activity.
"The finding is significant because it suggests that improving blood flow to the brain might be an effective approach to prevent or delay Alzheimer's," said Dr. Robert Vassar, principal investigator of the study being published in the journal Neuron.
Take action now by exercising.
It might not be a coincidence that the Industrial Age, modern epidemic of Alzheimer's was not diagnosed until 1906, when Alois Alzheimer gave a speech describing the development of tiny protein filaments in the brain of one of his former patients with memory loss.
Change of lifestyle characterized by industrial machine labor and office work coupled with the rise of the automobile and mass transit and a corresponding decline in human-powered agrarian farmwork has significantly reduced regular cardiovascular exercise for adults.
This is indeed strange when exercise appears to be the best and most efficient way to enhance blood flow and circulation, maintain and boost healthy capillary action through the body, and to evenly deliver energy via the blood serum.
It may be that we are polluting our brains with sedentarism, creating structures which are the equivalent of cognitive toxic waste dumps. You'll notice that the modern form of Alzheimer's was much less prevalent prior to 1900 than it is now.
The brain appears to handle lowered blood sugar as a famine indicator, and reacts with a short-term energy solution that has highly negative consequences.
No allowance or protocol seems to exist in the body's engineering to attribute this condition to lethargy brought on by an excess of plenty. With APOEe4 individuals, this protein combination appears to offer greater famine resistance as an adaptation to the harsh environment, but again has negative consequences.
So what can you do? Exercise your brain and BODY. This seems to be abundantly clear now. APOEe4 offers an even greater risk than normal in modern society.
If you think about it, a whole array of teleologically fascinating eschatological questions arise. For example, major figures in humanity's history can be viewed as either increasing or decreasing the risk vectors leading to Alzheimer's based on their social and policy decisions. Untethering human workers from the land, while a 20th century blessing, might increase the risk for post-modern Alzheimer's disease. Offering widespread employment in urban centers has the same effect-more Alzheimer's risk.
Our sociology and population ecology is inextricably linked to our health in ways that we have not commonly foreseen, and the rationally objective knowledge worker/ researcher/technical caste, those carrying the Promethean torch of science, might be oddly myopic and partially blind to this risk.
Other related CogLabs links:
Evolution in Just a Few Minutes (Flash Movie)
APOEe4 Test Subjects Exhibit Lack of Brain Connectity
APOE May be Associated with Unsuccessful Aging :-)?
Cognitive Labs Gene Research Published (paper format)