"Your efforts have saved lives and brought comfort to many, and your steadfast devotion has earned you the trust and respect of your community." - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton
"The brain has a marvelous power to muster up its own internal medicine to prevent Alzheimer's disease. This book will show you how. I highly recommend The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription as good preventive medicine." - William Sears, M.D., author of The Sears Parenting Library series & Prime Time Health
"Few authors, if any, who have written on this subject, have the broad training in neurology, psychiatry, and rehabilitation that Dr. Fortanasce has. His approach to "sentinel" risk factors - sleep and stress - is novel." - Joseph P. Van Der Meulen, MD, past Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the USC and Los Angeles County Hospital.
"Dr. Fortanasce's Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription is the perfect game plan to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Both my wife and I know...we use it." - Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Manager
Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, who has helped thousands of individuals over a prestigious medical career of nearly four decades as a world-renowned neurologist, psychiatrist, and rehabilitation specialist, presents a unique four-step program to prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease at any age in a new, breakthrough book, The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription (Gotham, August 2008). Central to The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription are the novel concepts of the sentinel risk factors and the hormonal symphony that supply a unifying concept to his program.
His science-backed, medically-sound, patient-tested program is as follows:
Step One: Diet - The Harmonic Diet reverses one of the major causes of Alzheimer's disease, insulin-peaking. It provides hormonal harmony to battle Alzheimer's by increasing lean and decreasing fat body mass.
Step Two: Exercise - Brain boosters present a revolutionary technique of strengthening exercises that maximize brain building while minimizing joint injury. The new Fort isometric formula can be done at home or the office. It stimulates growth hormone and brain stimulating factors while reducing stress.
Step Three: Accentuating the brain's reserve - Brain-boosters of daily brain exercises present novel ways to increase your brain size and memory as you age without need of computers or electronic equipment.
Step Four: Rest, recovery and meditation - The secret to reducing sentinel risk factors, sleeplessness and uncontrolled stress, the reason we fail. Learn how to maximize sleep and reduce stress by finding your "circle of quiet."
Dr. Fortanasce calls this regimen the DEAR method - D for Diet, E for exercise, A for accentuating the brain's reserve, and R for relaxation.
The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription is UNIQUE. Dr. Fortanasce, the author, is board certified in neurology, psychiatry and rehabilitation medicine. The sentinel risk factors originate from his psychiatric insights, the brain boosters from his training in neurology, the unique Fortanasce isometric exercise formula from his rehabilitation experience, and the diet from his extensive research of over 200 studies and articles.
Dr. Fortanasce was driven to find a cure for Alzheimer's upon the agonizing experience of his father's diagnosis of the mind-robbing disease, and shocking discovery in 2005 of his family's medical history. He recognized modern medicine's failure and false promises. "There is no magic bullet-no pill to stop Alzheimer's." Through his research he discovered a comprehensive program to lower the risk and delay the onset of this memory-erasing disease.
Dr. Fortanasce says "There is a fate worse than death - it's Alzheimer's disease. It is living alone in a nursing home your last seven years of your life. Alzheimer's disease has increased five-fold in those over 65, and twelve-fold in those under 65, in the past fifty years, despite our medical advancement and tripling of our standard of living. It is a disease of the AFFLUENT SOCIETIES. Modern medicine has failed us. We have increased our life span, but not our brain span. If the 78 million US Baby Boomers don't take action, then we are on the verge of an epidemic that not only impacts individuals, friends, and family, but will burden our medical care system and bankrupt our social security system."
The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription shows how to:
- Prevent your risk of Alzheimer's by as much as 70%.
- Improve your brain-power despite its precipitous drop in agility after age 40 (a 50% loss in brain agility by age 50).
- Determine your actual Brain Age vs. Chronological Age: a 25-year swing may exist.
- Learn how to prevent Alzheimer's disease, starting in childhood where it begins.
- Learn what to eat but more importantly, how and in what proportions. Get Alzheimer's-preventing recipes, and shop for optimal brain health.
- Assess your risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, including sentinel risk factors, extrinsic risk factors (obesity, hypertension, addictions), and intrinsic risk factors (age, genetics, prior head injury or heart attack).
- How to pick the right doctor for you.
"While many physicians still believe that it's pretty much set in stone whether or not you'll get Alzheimer's disease, I completely disagree!" Dr. Fortanasce says. "I know that if you work on changing the risk factors you can control, you can reduce the chance of Alzheimer's disease-even with aging and even with a family history of the disease."
"His prevention regimen couldn't come soon enough." says Dr. Sears. While most books regarding Alzheimer's discuss the pursuit of an elusive cure, recommend the use of dangerous supplements, address coping with a loved one with Alzheimer's, or provide a few games to engage the minds of seniors, none presents a clear-cut formula for limiting the risk of Alzheimer's. Many hang on for a magic bullet, a pill. But the American Academy of Neurology says, despite the $2.6 billion spent to treat Alzheimer's disease yearly, that expense may not extend brain longevity by even a single day.
"In 1980, I diagnosed, on average, one patient a month with dementia; now in some weeks, I may diagnose 6-10 patients. I truly believe that this dramatic increase in Alzheimer's disease is a direct result of our SAD lifestyle - sedentary, stressed, and sleepless, aging with a diet full of carbs and transfats."
He explains the cause for the modern epidemic by saying "The FDA's high carb, insulin peaking dietary recommendations in the 1970's are at the heart of the Alzheimer's epidemic today. Carbohydrates are to the brain what cigarettes are to the lungs. One leaves amyloid, the other, tar."
He also explores:
- Do you have the Alzheimer's personality or genetic predisposition?
- Why are women twice as likely to get Alzheimer disease?
- The genetic test for Alzheimer's disease - should you have it?
- Why there's no stem cell magic cure on the horizon.
- Why the FDA may be the culprit for the Alzheimer's epidemic.
- How we lose 90% of our longevity hormones from ages 20-70 and how to reverse that trend.
- How current medications are needlessly driving some seniors to bankruptcy.
- Do you have the early signs of Alzheimer's disease or is it simply stress?
- How restaurants are promoting Alzheimer's disease and how to tell your favorite restaurant to provide a brain-saving menu.
- Which supplements are a must, which are dangerous.
- Why Alzheimer disease starts in childhood.
- Why at 50 years old you may be in danger of losing your job to someone younger.
- Why pharmaceutical companies and politicians give us unrealistic hope.
Dr. Fortanasce concludes that we can change our habits at any age and still have an impact on our brain's fate. He especially wants "parents to establish healthy habits for their children so they can live long, healthy lives and includes a diet for them."
"By far the best program I've seen. It is scientifically sound and patient-friendly."
- Dr. Con Stough, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the Brain Sciences Institute at the Swinburne University
"You have worked tirelessly to maintain the highest standards of quality in the practice of medicine and service to the community. Your devotion and talent have earned you respect and admiration from colleagues and patients." - Former California Governor Pete Wilson
"A well-researched self-help technique for those concerned with Alzheimer's disease prevention." - Dr. Norman Namerow, Clinical Professor of Neurology at the UCLA School of Medicine
"If the Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription were a movie, Dr. Fortanasce would be given an Oscar for this innovative and ground breaking medical opus." - Steve McEveety, the Oscar winning Producer of Brave Heart and The Passion of Christ.
Publication Data: The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription by Dr. Vincent Fortanasce Gotham/Penguin; August 2008; Cloth; $26; 336 pages; August 2008; illustrated; ISBN: 978-1-592-40279-0.
Dr. Vincent Fortanasce Biography
Dr. Vincent Fortanasce
Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, ranked as one of the best physicians in America, has treated high-profile individuals such as Pope John Paul II and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. He's helped thousands of individuals over nearly four decades as a world-renowned neurologist, psychiatrist, and rehabilitation specialist. He is donating the profits of his book as he has with his last four to charity - The Fighting Alzheimer's Fund.
Dr. Fortanasce was moved to write his newest book, The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription (Gotham, August) once his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. His mother, 97, still fights the disease.
As a physician and bio-ethicist, he has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Hard Ball with Chris Matthews, Today Show, Dr. Phil, Dateline, and scores of other national and local television and radio shows. Frequently sought out as a medical expert, Dr. Fortanasce is a regular spokesperson for the California Medical Association at the Senate and Legislature assemblies. He's been quoted in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and many other prestigious publications. His syndicated radio program, St. Joseph's Radio Presents, Mother Angelica Network EWTN, has a listenership of more than 170,000.
Dr. Fortanasce has been a rehabilitation director for a quarter-century and his Neurology Rehabilitation unit was ranked in the Top 10 on the West Coast. He is also an assistant clinical professor for the Department of Neurology at the University of Southern California.
A board certified neurological rehabilitation specialist, he has lectured widely, from the Institute of Living at Yale, to Stanford, and was twice named Outstanding Lecturer of the Year at University of Southern California School of Medicine. Dr. Fortanasce has published numerous articles and has had four successful trade books published.
He was trained in psychiatry at the Institute of Living, a Yale affiliate hospital; in neurology at USC; and in neurological and orthopedic rehabilitation at the prestigious Ranchos Los Amigos Hospital.
His was inducted into the Little League Hall of Fame, a gold-medalist in the 1961 Junior Olympics and named for the U.S. Olympic Team of 1964 (alternate), a Black Belt and national Karate champion, a tennis singles champ at Yale Medical, and a tennis doubles champ at USC Medical.
Television and Radio Special Guest Appearances
Dr. Fortanasce has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows (also see biography), including Maury Safer and 60 Minutes to Diane Sawyer and Good Morning America with Mel Gibson. He has hosted his own radio show for seven years, called Saint Joseph Radio Presents that is broadcast throughout the United States, Europe and Africa.
Dr. Fortanasce's energetic style and insightful ideas provide answers while provoking listener reflection. He abounds with aphorisms "people who row the boat don't have time to rock it," he keeps audiences entertained while they learn.
For TV and radio audiences, Dr. Fortanasce can enhance viewer and listener interest with special guests such as:
- Mr. Baseball himself, Tommy and his wife Jo Lasorda. Dr. Fortanasce is often quoted as the reason for Tommy's success by his wife, Joe.
- Dr. Marshall Wells, one hundred-and-one year-old surgeon and long term participant of his prescription. Dr. Wells, while a missionary for 30 years to China and Thailand was a POW in 1942 in the Philippines (The March of Bataan). He founded Thailand's first hospital and has been decorated numerous times for his heroic work. "He is still at the top of his game." Says Dr. Fortanasce.
- Dr, Edwin Todd at 88, a renaissance man, neurosurgeon (father of neurostereotaptic surgery, doctorate in history and a degree in law.)
- Rose Fortanasce, his mother, who at 97 is still quick witted and his inspiration.
Questions & Answers
- Why is Alzheimer's such a huge concern? Alzheimer's disease is a big concern because this mind destroying epidemic is a growing national crisis. The toll is personal, financial and medical. The current cost of Alzheimer's disease in the US is estimated to be $110 billion dollars and that cost is anticipated to dramatically increase over the next 10 years. Currently the total Medicare allowance is only $280 billion. Seventy percent of patients with Alzheimer's disease will be in nursing homes within two years of their diagnosis and then will be there in the nursing home for an average of 7 years. Fifty percent of US households will have a close relative or friend suffering from Alzheimer's.
- Dr. Fortanasce, your breakthrough book offers a science-proven plan to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease. In The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription, you offer a 4-step plan that can begin at any age. What are the crucial steps we should all take now? First is to understand why we fail. We fail due to a loss of will power. Remember, without will power, there is no power. Will power depends on two neurotransmitters: serotonin and dopamine. The formula to succeeding on any lifestyle plan is simple: increase serotonin and dopamine and you will be on your way to preventing the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Fact - The average 50 year old has begun 100 diets and lifestyle changes, while the average 70 year old, 200. Without taking the crucial steps to control stress and sleep, we will begin diet and lifestyle plan 101 at 50 and 201 at 70 and by 80 have a 50% chance of having Alzheimer's disease. The second thing is to have a science-proven plan. The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription gives the unique yet simple 4-step DEAR plan - D for diet, E for exercise, A for accentuating the brain's reserve, and R for rest & relaxation techniques. This will lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease in 70% and delay it in the rest. Finally, never give up, have hope. This is a marathon, not a series of 100 yard dashes.
- Why do you believe that so many are at risk to suffer from Alzheimer's, to the point you fear 78 million Baby Boomers could become part of an Alzheimer's epidemic that can cripple families and our healthcare system? First, our health care system has failed us. Though in the last 100 years our life span has increased 35 years, our brain span has not increased a single day and we have no magic bullet on the medical horizon. We are given false hope. This has left us with a fate worse than death - Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is a disease of affluent societies. It is a result of a SAD lifestyle. S stands for sedentary (only 1 in 4 after 50 exercise more than once a week), sleeplessness (the average American sleeps 6.5 hours - in 1926 we slept 9.5 hours), and stressful (70% of Americans feel they are overwhelmed at least weekly). A stands for an aging population that is living longer. The average person's lifespan is 14 years longer than in 1950 and between 35 and 40 years longer than in 1900. Finally, D is for our diet that is full of transfats (tenfold increase since 1954). The FDA and its titanic food pyramid incorrectly told us, in 1970, to eat carbohydrates and reduce fat and protein when science, even back then, said that was wrong.
- Is Alzheimer's really something individuals have control over - or is it inevitable with age or genetic predisposition? The real problem is that are we capable of doing something about it but don't. Clearly, Alzheimer's disease is within our control and can be reduced for 70% of us but 30% of us have a genetic predisposition but can delay its onset by 10-15 years. Remember, Alzheimer's disease is lifestyle induced and begins in childhood. For the child who is sedentary, sleepless and has a poor diet, studies show that children and adolescents who are obese at 18 years old have a 70% chance of being obese (with a predisposition to hypertension), diabetes, and suffering vascular disease at 50. Parents and grandparents can help or hinder their children's future brain longevity. What you do today will affect their brain tomorrow. We need to start the Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription with our children. For adults, the prescription is mandatory.
- What are the chief risk factors for developing Alzheimer's? The chief risk factors are what I call the sentinel risk factors. Sentinel means "watchman." If we watch our sleep and handle our stress correctly we can maintain a diet, an exercise program and have time to rest, meditate, and be happy. We simply can't deal with stress by eating. Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.
- What events caused you to pursue Alzheimer's disease? How did you discover a plan for reducing or delaying the onset of the memory-robbing disease? First, I experienced Alzheimer's disease with my father. I denied my father had Alzheimer's disease and rationalized it to be due to a heart valve problem until I returned to his birthplace in Italy. There, in 2005, I found long-lost relatives, three of whom died of Alzheimer's disease in their 70's. I could no longer deny my susceptibility. Secondly, it was my self-realization of the double damage that we in the medical profession cause. First, we give patient's false hope that the medication will delay the onset or progression of the disease. We make them incur debts that can bring them to bankruptcy. When I realized medicine had no magic bullet, I knew I had to do something. I then reviewed over 200 studies that clearly showed Alzheimer's disease could be prevented by a lifestyle change that is included in the 4-step DEAR method.
- Are there any medical treatments showing success for Alzheimer's? With new drugs or stem cell research are we on the verge of a cure? People like fairy tales. People want to believe a cure is right around the corner. One of the cruelest tales was told to Nancy Reagan. It said by adding stem cells they could cure Alzheimer's. Recently, the American Academy of Neurology said there is no cure around the corner after a phase III study on tramiprosate failed. To make people believe that we are on the verge of a cure is like believing we can protect our children from life's hardships. We cannot. We can only prepare them to deal with life's trials and tribulations. With Alzheimer's, we cannot hide from it or deny it. It will attack us. We can only learn to lower the risk, and that takes determination and a plan. It is a scientifically proven plan that I give in The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription.
- As a well-respected neurologist and rehabilitation director in Southern California, you have treated thousands of individuals over several decades, including celebrities, politicians, high-powered, stress-filled people such as Pope John Paul II and former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. Are such people more vulnerable to developing Alzheimer's? If so, why? Yes. One thing that I realized was those I would least likely believe would get Alzheimer's disease were doctors, lawyers, and policemen. But I found a higher rate of Alzheimer's in physicians than any other profession. The same with Ronald Reagan. All are intelligent, determined and constantly using their minds, so what do they all have in common? Why were they vulnerable? Stress and sleeplessness - what I call the sentinel risk factors. Stress skyrockets our aging hormones, while sleeplessness suppresses our youthful hormones and causes carbohydrate binges that cause insulin to peak. Why is that bad? Binging on carbs is like smoking cigarettes each time we do it; it leaves a residual "amyloid" deposit on the brain - like a cigarette leaves tar on the lungs. This starts 30 years before the first signs of Alzheimer's. You know the signs if you are over 50. It's on the "tip of your tongue" - that name, that word, your keys. You can have a high-profile job and a lot of stress but if you manage it right you can avoid Alzheimer's disease. The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription gives you the tools to do it.
- What exactly is Alzheimer's, how long can people live with it, and why is it so feared? Alzheimer's disease is a slow progressive disease of the brain that robs us of our memory, our independence and makes us a burden on those we love. First it causes memory loss, then behavioral changes including hallucinations, combative behavior, embarrassing sexual behavior, and finally, loss of the ability to control one's bowels, bladder, and even the ability to walk. Alzheimer's is of epidemic proportions with 5.4M with the disease today in the USA. The question to ask is why has Alzheimer's increased tenfold in those over 65 and 24-fold in those under 65 in the past 50 years, despite our standard of living tripling over the same time. It is feared because people live an average of nine years with it. Most horrifying is that 30% are placed in nursing homes within one year, 70% in two years, where they are imprisoned for another 7 years alone, separated from family, friends, and home. Don't tell me they don't know what is happening to them, because many do. It is The Great American Tragedy.
- How are you promoting an Anti-Alzheimer's Diet? By the Harmonic Diet. It tells you what to eat, in what order, and in what proportions. Foods have to include: Fish, an anti-inflammatory, such as salmon; nuts and berries - the darker the better; vegetables; carbs; whole grains; and snack packs with almonds. Foods to avoid: Jet carbs; pastas, and refined breads; transfats - especially in cookies, cakes, hamburgers. You must avoid "Brain-Busting" snacks: chocolate and candy. We need to understand the Hormonal Symphony and its conductor - insulin. Insulin-peaking occurs with the "Jet-Carbs". Cigarettes are to the lungs as insulin is to the brain. Cigarettes leave tar and increases lung disease. High insulin leaves amyloids and Alzheimer's disease. To avoid this, eat protein and fats first.
- What role does sleep play? What electricity is to keeping our world going, sleep is to keeping our brain going. What electricity is to lighten up our home, sleep is to brightening our mind. Sleep, especially during stage 3-4 and REM sleep, is when we replenish dopamine and serotonin, the 2 neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of well-being and giving us self-control. Sleep increases GH and testosterone and estrogen; dopamine decreases ghelin and increases leptin, turns off cortisol and so decreases our appetite and decreases anxiety.
- What are some sleep myths? We don't need that much sleep. The smartest people need less than 6 hours. Wrong -- the major reason for carb craving, anxiety disorders, obesity, DM, is a lack of sleep. Losing sleep never hurt anyone. Wrong - it does. Snoring means you're deep-sleeping. Wrong - it is a clear sign of sleep apnea, a major cause of Alzheimer's disease. It is often associated with obesity, hypertension, and dementia. It is epidemic in male and females over 50 who are overweight and who snore. If you have sleep apnea, you are at very high risk for Alzheimer's disease, heart attacks, and cancer. Sleep apnea is as treatable as high blood pressure.
- What types of mental exercises are proven as brain boosters? Brain Boosters are the mind of the Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription. Remember the brain is an interest-bearing account. To get that interest, three elements are needed - novelty, earning it, and depositing it. Novel - something new or not often done. Earning it - active participation, not just listening but singing, not just reading, but speaking. Retrieval - practice bears interest. To build brain reserves, you must open new bank accounts, not keep filling the same one. What you can do now: Eat or write with your non-dominant hand. Change your routines - taxi cab drivers have a low incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Learn new words or another language and use them. Memorize the streets on your way to work or your credit card numbers, the extension numbers of your fellow workers or commonly called customers, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Your boss will be impressed and your spouse will be amazed!!!
- What part does exercise play in preventing Alzheimer's disease? Exercise is the heart of The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription. It is essential for many reasons. First, exercise reduces stress and balances one's hormones. It puts the hormonal symphony back in balance by increasing growth hormone, testosterone, thyroid and estrogen which plummet as we age. Next, it reduces the aging and fat producing stress hormone cortisol. It stimulates dopamine, providing a runner's high. Second, brawn increases brain cells. Memory is stored in the cell connections called dendrites. An important nerve growth factor is produced when we exercise, that increases the number of cells and its connections in the hippocampus, where the memory and learning in the brain take place. Third, exercise increases lean muscle mass and decreases fat mass. Lean muscle burns three-five times the calories that fat does. Yes, those good-looking muscular men and women burn calories just by looking good to the chagrin of the couch potatoes. An increase in abdominal fat causes a vicious fat cycle. Fat cells stimulate insulin production, which stimulates carbohydrate craving.
- When is the best and worst time to exercise?
- Heavy strengthening exercises and moderate aerobic exercises are best to be done before dinner. This decreases carbohydrate cravings and one's appetite by stimulating leptin, a satiating hormone, and turning of the stress hormone cortisol.
- After dinner, lunch or breakfast, do a light workout (i.e. brisk walk after eating burns carbs and prevents insulin-peaking).
- The worst time to exercise is before going to sleep. It interferes with the sleep cycle and the hormones and neurotransmitters needed to initiate sleep.
- How can we encourage parents to realize they can help their children develop healthy habits that will help delay or prevent Alzheimer's 60, 70 or 80 years from now? The flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds we plant today. Parents must take charge and recognize what they do with their children today will affect the rest of their lives. While parents are learning their new lifestyle, the 4-step AAP, they must also establish a healthy lifestyle for their children. Take these four steps.
- Diet - Only healthy foods should be stored at home. Take time to eat with your children and do not overfeed. For dessert, try berries and nuts.
- Exercise - Let them be your partners, they love it. Remember, from ages 5-12, the sun rises and sets on you the parent. Once they become teenagers, you're nothing but a dark cloud over their head. In these pre-adolescent years you can teach them to love to exercise. Take them on walks. Take them to the gym. Make exercise a bonding experience and part of their lifestyle, one that includes you.
- Limit passive and stressful activity. Limit TV, telephone time and computer game time. Don't put TV's in their rooms. Make cell phones off-limits at home. Make sure video games are not played two hours prior to bedtime. They are major stressors. Encourage learning, music, a new language. Watch things like National Geographic and the History Channel with them. Make dinner a family time.
- Sleep and stress - You can't hide your child from stress; you can only prepare them to deal with it:
- Make sure they set up a homework schedule and check to see if it is done. Don't do homework prior to bedtime. Best is a scheduled time after school, or one hour after dinner.
- Demand a "lights-out" policy, even on the weekends. Also demand a "wake-up" policy.
- Make children feel needed. Give them chores, be consistent. Make sure they finish the job. Don't go for the "other parents" trick. i.e., "My friend's parents don't make them do that."
- Reward them with positive regard when they behave. Do not give them praise when they don't deserve it. Don't reinforce poor work, diet, and exercise habits. Don't be afraid to be a pest. It is a parent's job to be one.
- By doing this, you make a confident, self-reliant, successful, and most important, happy child who will be Alzheimer's-free.
- How is the obesity epidemic amongst teenagers going to impact their ability to stave off Alzheimer's? It is estimated that 50% of children and teenagers are overweight or obese. The number of overweight and obese children has doubled since 1980. 70% of obese teenagers will be obese as adults. Obesity is a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Obese women have three times the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. At 70 years old, 20% of women have significant memory loss. This may be 60% in those who are obese at the same age. Fat begets fat. Fat cells in the abdominalomentum are alive. They stimulate insulin production; insulin stimulates glucose conversion to fat and turns off two longevity genes, causing ageing. Fat causes inflammation and destroys brain cells. On the contrary, lean muscle burns three to six times the calories as fat. Muscle use stimulates growth hormone and testosterone. Yes, couch potatoes; there is another reason to be one of those lean, good-looking people. They lose weight just by looking good. In case you're wondering how doctors add up in the obesity department, a recent AMA survey shows more than 50% of physicians are overweight. Too much stress, too little sleep. Too much carbohydrate binging.
- What should one consider when seeking a doctor to confirm an Alzheimer's diagnosis? First, determine: Is he/she qualified in this area? Neurologists specialize in Alzheimer's disease. If you have a loved one who has increasing mental deterioration more than three months, a consultation with a neurologist is highly recommended. Though some other doctors can treat Alzheimer's disease, I will assure you that if anyone in their family or they themselves have a problem, they will visit a board certified neurologist and no one else. Second, does he/she order tests or evaluate your medications? Third, if you see a doctor and complain of memory problems,
Fourth, does the doctor check your vibratory function in your legs? Fifth, does the doctor test for frontal lobe release signs? Does he do lab tests? At a minimum, get these tests TSH, CRP, B12, & Folic Acid.
- Does the doctor do a complete mental status exam? It takes 5 minutes or more.
- Does the doctor take your complaints seriously?
- Does the doctor spend adequate time with you?
- Does the doctor or his/her staff return your call when you call them?
- Does the doctor make you feel you're important?
- Does your doctor resent your request to see a specialist?
- Before seeing your doctor, if you are worried about your memory, what are some things you can do? Write down your concerns. Always bring in a close friend or family member. Remember you're complaining about your memory. Never forget to bring in a list of your medications and supplements. Many can cause memory problems like the STATINS used for cholesterol, sleep aides, anxiety meds. Some sleep supplements can be dangerous - ginkgo biloba and others cause bleeding. Chondroitin Sulfate for joints can cause insulin-resistant diabetes. Never forget to tell your doctor if you snore or have sleep difficulties.
- Are there some spices that are particularly important for the brain? What are some brain foods? Yes, turmeric, rosemary, and ginger. I'd like to see, along with the heart symbol on restaurant menus, a brain symbol to advise brain-healthy selections.
- What lab test(s) should your doctor order regarding detection or predisposition to Alzheimer's disease? CRP; Homocysteine 4.7x; Thyroid; and B12 & folate levels.
- What supplements should you use? Fish oil; Folic acid; B1-6 & 12, Vitamin E, and nutritional supplements containing turmeric and/or resveratrol
- What advice do you have for those about to retire or who are already retired? When you leave your place of employment you must find a new job at the gym: lifting weights, making new friends and finding new interests.
Four - Step "Prescription"
Alzheimer's robs the mind and memory of millions of people but there is no cure for the disease. 78 million Baby Boomers are beginning to shift from middle age to older age and many are fearful of developing Alzheimer's. A new book by renowned neurologist Vincent Fortanasce MD, The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription, lays out a 4-step process to help reduce or delay the onset of Alzheimer's.
Step 1: The Anti-Alzheimer's Diet
By embracing a Harmonic Diet, you can boost your powers of memory and concentration. It is high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, lean protein, nuts, seeds, legumes, unrefined whole grains, olive oil, good fats, and low-fat dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. Avoid red meat, sugary desserts and processed foods. The Harmonic Method of eating is employed: eat protein and fat first to stimulate glucagon and control insulin release, eating 1/3 distribution of calories from good fats, another third from lean protein, and a third of complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Lean bodies burn three times the calories as fat ones.
Step 2: Brawn Boosters
Daily aerobics and anaerobics for the body and mind help build a stronger, smarter brain. The older you get, the more important exercise becomes to balancing your hormonal symphony, augmenting the brain's growth and reserve, and reducing the effects of the sentinel risk factors (chronic stress and sleeplessness). Exercise reduces stress and helps avert binge-eating, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and depression. Exercise builds brain mass and capacity, stimulates anabolic hormone production, and increases muscle mass and the body's metabolic rate. It prevents falls and injuries that lead to obesity.
Step 3: Brain Boosters
The brain is like an interest-bearing account. Its capacity can increase as we age despite our agility loss. By giving your brain a daily workout, we improve our mental fitness, strength, and flexibility. No matter how old you are, your brain can continue to grow new neurons and dendrites - and rewire itself. What can help? Three essentials are needed - 1) novelty, 2) earning it, and 3) practicing it. Do the usual differently. Eat and write with your non-dominant hand. Memorize birthdays and anniversaries. Learn new words or languages. Your boss will be impressed and your spouse will be amazed!
Step 4: Rest and Recovery Lead You to Your Circle of Quiet
A fast-paced lifestyle and too little sleep can result in Alzheimer's. Chronic stress destroys the brain. Remember to plan, prepare, and pray. Plan your day by writing it down. Prepare by prioritizing and being on time. Pray to recognize what you can do from what you can't and the wisdom to know the difference. Take the 12 steps: identify stressors, talk therapy, meditation, strengthening social support, rekindling your spiritual side or religious beliefs, laughing more, exercising, listening to music, taking antidepressants where needed, practicing relaxation techniques, and getting a healing sleep, give yourself some peace and solitude.
The Anti-Alzheimer's Diet
Acclaimed neurologist Vincent Fortanasce, MD has created a special diet to stave off Alzheimer's disease. Until now he shared it exclusively with high-profile patients, such as Hall of Fame Baseball Manager Tommy Lasorda. He now reveals his breakthrough, brain-boosting diet in a new book, The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription.
Tip #1 - Do a Kitchen Overhaul
Get rid of all highly-processed foods, foods high in sodium, and foods with high doses of bad fats, sugar, and white flour. These are brain-killers. Also, avoid foods that are high in corn syrup, MSG, salt, sugar substitutes, transfats, saturated fats, or partially hydrogenated oils.
Tip #2 Go Shopping
Fill your refrigerator and cupboards with "The Golden Dozen" foods that boost the brain and are proven to help keep insulin levels balanced. If eaten in the proper proportions, they block inflammation and harmful free radicals in the brain. Recommended foods include: berries, apples, fish, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, greens, dried beans, soy, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and whole grains.
Tip #3 - Follow the One-Third Rule
Follow the harmonic method of eating, equally distributing your calories among good fat, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates throughout the day. A third of your daily calories consumption should consist of very lean protein, including fish, lean meats, poultry, eggs, soy products, nuts and seeds, and low-fat dairy. Another third should come from good fats, including olive oil, grape seed oil, peanut oil, flaxseed oil, olives, avocadoes, and nuts. Another third is from complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and brown rice.
"Along with weight loss, when you follow the Anti-Alzheimer's Diet, you can lower your blood pressure, bad cholesterol, levels of C-reactive protein and risk for metabolic syndrome - all health conditions that increase the chance of Alzheimer's," concludes Dr. Fortanasce.
Dr. Fortanasce also suggests taking a number of supplements to stave of Alzheimer's:
- A multivitamin that doesn't contain copper.
- 800 micrograms of folic acid daily.
- 1000 mg twice-a-day of fish oil.
- Supplements with antioxidants: Vitamins C and E and selenium.
- A baby aspirin daily.
- A glass of red wine daily or nutritional supplement that contains both turmeric and resveratrol.
- Co-enzyme Q10 if you're on cholesterol lowering drugs (Statins)
What's Your Real Brain Age
It is said that you're only as old as you feel, but according to renowned neurologist Vincent Fortanasce, MD, your brain is as old as your daily diet and lifestyle habits make it.
"There can be a huge swing in brain-memory longevity, depending on factors such as diet, stress, sleep and mental stimulation," he says. In his book, The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription, there is a risk-profile assessment of 25 questions. Depending on how many you answer "true" to, your brain may actually be as much as 15 years younger than your body age - or 10 years older. Below are a dozen questions. The more you answer "true" to, the younger your brain is, and the better chance you have of delaying or preventing Alzheimer's disease.
- I get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- I eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (daily) that are high in antioxidants.
- I take fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids or flaxseed supplements at least 5 times per week.
- I exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes each time (total of 3 hours or more of strenuous exercise weekly).
- My cholesterol is less than 200 or my LDL (bad) cholesterol is below 110.
- I am not obese (women: less than 20 pounds overweight, men: less than 30 pounds overweight).
- I have never smoked cigarettes.
- I have normal blood pressure.
- I do not have diabetes.
- I do not have a sleep disorder such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea or untreated insomnia.
- I have a strong support group and enjoy many activities with friends, colleagues, and family members.
- I read challenging books, do crossword puzzles, or Sudoku, engage in activities that require active learning, memorization, computation, analysis, and problem-solving at least 5 times a week.
"If you score high, keep up the good work," says Dr. Fortanasce. "But if you find a big negative disparity between your Actual Brain Age and Chronological Age, it's time to make significant lifestyle changes and to consult your doctor about these Alzheimer's risk factors and to explore if early treatment is needed."
Exercise Prevents Alzheimer's - 7 Myths on Exercise
"The leading anti-aging researchers agree the silver bullet against the aging vampire that saps us of our essence, our brainpower, is exercise. The research is conclusive: those who exercise live longer, healthier, and smarter lives," says Vincent Fortanasce, MD.
"The question to ask is not 'Do I exercise or not?' the question is 'what is the best exercise, how do I do it, how often, and how much?' because as the body ages, so goes the mind. Exercise builds more than brawn - it builds brain power."
The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription identifies three key elements essential to exercising: stretching, steps, and strengthening.
Myth 1: Lifting weights makes you inflexible and muscle bound. Research has shown just the opposite. Strenuous weight lifting is best for brain power, stimulating growth sex and brain stimulating hormones. This increases the number of brain cells and their connection dendrites where memory is located. A leaner muscular body is associated with longevity, weight loss and a higher brain capacity and memory.
Myth 2: You must do at least half hour of aerobics per day to stay fit. Research has shown consistency is more important than length of time. People who exercise 10 minutes daily do as well as those exercising 30 minutes intermittently. Working at 60% of maximum heart rate is best for burning fat; at 80%, one burns even more calories.
Myth 3: Light weight training is as good as heavy training. No. Heavier loads build increased muscle mass and brain capacity. That is doing fewer repetitions (5) very slowly over 10 seconds with a lighter weight builds more muscle tissue (lean mass) than 20 repetitions with heavier weights. Isometric exercise is great for those without a gym or available weights. It can be done at home or the office.
Myth 4: Running is the best form of aerobic exercise and the longer you run the better. No. Running is dangerous for those over 60; it is the cause for knee, ankle and hip degenerative disease, especially if you are overweight. Preferable is walking, a stationary bicycle is softest.
Myth 5: Aerobic exercise only helps the heart. No. Aerobic exercise done at a rate of 80% of a maximum heart rate (calculated by 220-age) increases growth hormone release, helping your muscles and your brain.
Myth 6: Eat carbohydrates before aerobic exercise. No. The first 20 minutes of exercise uses carbohydrates as fuel and then ones of fat. If one wants to burn fat it is better not to have carbohydrates first.
Myth 7: Don't exercise after eating. A light walk after eating stabilizes insulin by burning up the carbs you just put in your blood stream.
What Makes the Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription Unique
- Dr. Fortanasce's credentials. The only neurologist, psychiatrist, and rehabilitation specialist to write a prevention book on the topic Alzheimer's disease.
- Dr. Fortanasce speaks from his own family and patient experience over the past 30 years. His stories are touching and insightful.
- He identifies the sentinel risk factors, the underlying reason for most other risk factors as hyper tension, diabetes and obesity.
- The unique harmonic diet that gets at the root of the primary cause of Alzheimer's disease.
- He provides a simple, safe and practical exercise plan that could only be formulated by an Olympic athlete (gold medal junior Olympics, weightlifting) and a rehabilitation specialist. (His rehabilitation unit was named in the top 10 on the west coast by business week magazine.)
- Because of his background in psychiatry and brain physiology, his rest and relaxation techniques give insight and solution to the main reasons why most diets and lifestyle plans fail. (Low levels of dopamine and serotonin.)
- He identifies childhood as to the origins of Alzheimer's disease and with each step demonstrates how parents and grand-parents can help their children.
- He presents practical solutions to change one's lifestyle. From suggesting diet menus to advising restaurants to create a new symbol (A brain symbol as a counterpart to the heart symbol used in today's menus, to be used for brain healthy selections).
Statistics & Facts from Dr. Fortanasce
- Fear of losing one's mind is the number one fear in those over 50 years of age.
- In the U.S., one-third of those over 80 have dementia and 50% by the time they reach 85. 20% at the age of 70 have significant cognitive loss.
- AD is a disease of affluent societies. Of the world's 24 million cases, nearly 23% are in the U.S., which has only 4.4% of the world's population.
- There are 78 million Baby Boomers and 40 million in the U.S. age 62 or older.
- By the year 2050, 40% of those who are 65 or older will likely reach 90. The cost of treating AD is currently $110 billion.
- AD is twice as prevalent in women.
- Obesity increases your chances of getting Alzheimer's. Obese women increase their chances by 300%. Men show a 30% increase for Alzheimer's when they have a Body Mass Index over 30, or a waist size of 40 or more.
- Genes determine 30% of your risk of developing Alzheimer's. The other 70% comes from factors you can control - diet, fitness, and stress levels.
- Genetic predisposition for Alzheimer's impacts up to 30% of the population. If one has both parents with the disease, there's a 50% chance of developing it early.
- Our brain's natural agility peaks by the age of 24 and declines 50% by 50 years of age.
- From age 24 to 80, brain weight decreases by up to 20%, blood flow to the brain decreases by 20%, the number of fibers and nerves decreases by 37%.
- The American Academy of Neurology notes that by the time the average patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, they still live another 8.5 years. On average, 70% are admitted to a nursing home within two and a half years of their diagnosis.
- A healthy brain - no matter how old - can continue to grow new neurons and dendrites and rewire itself. A major source of memory capacity is found in the dendrite bulbs that can increase in size, thus increasing memory storage.
Source: The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription by Vincent Fortanasce, MD, ©2008