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Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

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Alzheimer's Disease and Brain Awareness

Why you should care about your brain.

By now, I’m sure that most people have heard the old time saying of you “use it or lose it,” when it
comes to the brain. The widely held belief that a person can maintain or enhance his or her brain
function. In addition, offset age-related declines in mental performance by engaging in intellectual exercise.

Just how important is it to know about brain health when it comes to impairment in
neurodegenerative diseases? Below I will be discussing prevalence, characteristics, risk factors. As well
as what can be done to prevent decline and keep your brain functioning at its optimal level.

Dementia has the symptoms of trouble with memory, language, problem‐solving and
other thinking skills that affect a person’s ability to perform activities.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Thus, counting for an estimated 60% to 80% of cases. Furthermore, this disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Lifestyle, environment, and genetics can increase your chance of getting the disease. However, by knowing what those risk factors are, lifestyle adjustments can be made for future longevity.

brain awareness
Figure 1: Percentage changes in selected causes of death (all ages) between 2000 and 2018. Created from data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Be mindful of your Brain

Why is brain awareness important?

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s is increasing, part of this is due to the baby boomer generation. In addition, how can we help them and prevent rapid decline.

In Figure 2 below, you can see the preclinical AD phase of “No Symptoms” first. This phase is due to Alzheimer’s being a slow brain disease that begins many years before symptoms emerge. Actually, it is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise.

dementia due to ad

Figure 2: Alzheimer’s disease (AD). *MCI: mild cognitive impairment. 

Oxidative Stress and Gene Expression

Oxidative stress has been recognized as a factor in aging and in the progression of many
neurodegenerative diseases including AD. Increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is
associated with age and disease. Which are dependent on loss of mitochondrial function, altered metal homeostasis, and reduced antioxidant defense. Then directly affect the synaptic activity and neurotransmission in neurons. Thus, leading to cognitive dysfunction. As you can see, by reducing oxidative stress throughout your life.

brain with alzheimers
Figure 3: Brain vs. Brain with Alzheimer's

The best known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s is the APOE-e4 genotype. With modern advances in mapping out genetic expression, we can foresee the individuals risk of this disease. In addition, the prevalence of women developing Alzheimer’s being 2/3 of a rate compared to men, which is due to sex hormones. Women have such a vast spectrum of hormone fluctuations throughout their lives from puberty, menarche, pregnancies, and menopause. Balancing hormones has so many added benefits on overall health and can be managed by natural and effective methods such as Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.

Acupuncture To Improve Brain Health

bai hui locations

Acupuncture is a safe and effective method for relieving symptoms of diseases and improving the quality of life.

It can also improve memory and improve cognitive impairment. In fact, studies have found that the effects of acupuncture may be achieved through ways such as:

  • Clearing Aβ protein deposition
  • Inhibiting protein hyperphosphorylation
  • Prompting neural transmission
  • Reducing oxidative stress.

Your Acupuncturist will select a specific points to address your individual symptoms and disease processes.

A few of my go-to points for memory are Baihui (GV-20) and Sishencong (EX-HN 1).


Written by Sonya Bhakta, 

Licensed Acupuncturist at Healing with Zen.

Click on the link below to learn more about Sonya!

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