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Brain diseases come in sets
Brain Defects Related to Alzheimer’s Generally Accompanied by Other Brain Diseases
Gina Kolata wrote an interesting article for the New York Times that examines the simultaneous presence of various brain diseases in most cases of Alzheimer’s. Many of these diseases cause dementia, making it difficult to tease out what the patient has, and what brain disease is causing which symptoms. As she pointed out, this could mean that all of these various diseases are caused by a single unknown cause—possibly blood flow.
Although the article doesn’t go into what could impede the blood flow, we know from other research (and it makes logical sense) that blood flow can be decreased by inflammation, plaque build up within the arteries, or decreased flexibility of the arteries, such that they are unable to stretch to accommodate blood flow following build-up. Silent strokes, wherein the patient is unaware of the occurrence of the stroke could be another culprit. Another possible cause is that the pumping mechanism, the heart, is not producing enough power. This last explanation, however, seems less likely as I haven’t seen much support for it. In any case, if the culprit is low blood flow, it would make sense that improving one’s cardiovascular health should decrease an individual’s chances of acquiring various brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Cardiovascular health can be increased through proper nutrition and exercise.
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