Here’s an article in the New York Times that describes why scientists are baffled as to why we’ve made essentially no progress in preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease, despite all the recent advances in understanding this all-too-common condition. Could it be because our fundamental explanation for Alzheimer’s is wrong to begin with? Researchers are convinced that buildup and accumulation of plaques in the brain is what causes this condition and that by preventing its’ buildup, we can better control this disease. So far, nothing has worked. No surprises.
This general paradigm of Western medicine is that if you can lower your numbers (cholesterol or blood pressure), or prevent buildup of plaques in your blood vessels or brain, then you can supposedly “cure” the disease. But this is the fundamental problem with Western medicine. Every medicine that we use for chronic medical conditions only covers up the end result, rather than treating what’s actually causing the problem: our stress-filled modern lives, poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor breathing at night. Yes, lowering your cholesterol may lower your risk of heart disease by 10%, but at what cost? Side effects such as liver toxicity are routine in various cholesterol medications. In the same way, side effects from the various Alzheimer’s drugs are also very common.
Knowing what we know about the effects of untreated obstructive sleep apnea on the brain, and with the HUGE number of untreated sleep apnea patients, it’s time that sleep apnea researchers and Alzheimer’s researchers begin talking to each other.
Should scientists continue to go figure out ways to block amyloid plaque production, or should they be looking for an alternative explanation, such as obstructive sleep apnea? I’d like to hear your opinion. Please enter your comments in the box blow.