Unfortunately, my family has been affected by Alzeimer's disease. We've lost loved ones to it and we have loved ones showing signs of it coming. We sit and try and fix our face when a sign appears. A simple question asked and discussed and then asked again within a couple of minutes. With a normal smile. No confusion. Nothing to indicate anything else is wrong. A good time being held by all and then...suddenly...that grip of fear squeezing the shit out of our hearts because we saw it. We were there. And we know what comes next.
And we're not ready.
It starts out simple enough and gets worse. Way worse than you'll ever be prepared for. When you watched a beloved Elder furious and in severe panic because of their frustration in not knowing who are you any longer...it starts a crack in your heart that hurts. FOR REAL HURT.
Because of how directly this disease has touched my family, I have a high interest in anything related to studying the disease. I read something a long time ago which stated that since the disease was relatively "new" that the most likely culprit was diet. As we progressed in the world of food preservatives, we regressed in many health related areas so it wasn't without merit that this was a very real possibility.
I look at the diet of most of my family down South and I note the high fat content. The dependence on processed foods. The quick meals from fast food restaurants. I think about how a body changes to adapt to nutrition starvation and begins to figure out how to fuel itself with the chemicals in the processed foods and then I think about the elders I have who aren't showing signs of anything except aging well. And they eat mostly vegetables and fruit. Lean meats. They're not carrying around the belly fat. Working out is a part of their daily routine more often than not and they are sharp with their New York Times daily crossword puzzle.
We never really discussed why they eat differently than most. They just always said, "I'm not eating that." and kept it moving. Leaving it to us to make the comparisons and come up with our own plan.
Fortunately, my mother was very vocal about food and what she didn't trust. Since my father didn't trust the government to do anything other than take from us...it was easy to become food paranoid in our household.
Back to Alzheimer's.
Yesterday I read this article and it was the first time the things I'd been thinking had validity: UCLA STUDY: NON-DRUG TREATMENT MAY REVERSE ALZHEIMER'S
I sent this article to all of my Elders with the following message:
Do you have it in your family or your family history? Does it make you nervous? Is it something that you will focus on preventing?