When Does Alzheimer’s Disease Start?

Last week I was talking to a friend, who said, “My 85-year father just came down with Alzheimer’s Disease”.  After responding with supporting and empathetic words, I thought to myself, his father has had Alzheimer’s Disease for a long time.   It’s not like catching the flu.  Maybe a closer analogy is like being diagnosed with heart disease or cancer.  The accumulated internal damages reach a level everyone knows there is something wrong.Just when does Alzheimer’s start?  When does the brain begin to become infested with the first unwanted proteins, slowly and silently entering the brain, spreading like a fog into a clear night until dawn when visibility is nil.There are no proven answers to this questions.  But there are suspicions.   A recent study indicated fast cognitive decline starting 6 years preceding a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.  http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/650836.html

Other investigations have indicated early adult writing skills may predict later probability of getting Alzheimer’s Disease.  This come from the famous Nun Study where over a hundred nuns  had their personal journals analysed that had been written while in their 20’s. Those written with multiple ideas and grammatical complexity were less likely to get AD.

Nun Study Video

The Nun Study

This conclusion may mean the die is cast early in one’s life regarding Alzheimer’s Disease.   Lacking a cure for the inevitable means the only positive action if you flunked creative writing in high school is to eat right, exercise greatly, and don’t smoke or hit your head on anything.  And, if you scored high on that writing test in high school, do the same thing.




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