However a severe case of cognitive dissonance (believing in two contradictory ideas simultaneously) is gripping Alzheimer’s charities and experts as to the best way to tackle this epidemic. They declare their allegiance to prevention and extol the benefits of the likes of exercise and healthy eating (without specifying exactly what that involves) along with stopping smoking and keeping your brain busy.
But it seems largely for public show, like the obligatory affirmations of religious faith by American politicians on the campaign trail. The amount spent studying prevention is a few percent of the research budget which is heavily drug based. Not content with outsourcing the search for treatments to drug companies the charities and Department of Health actively seek to discredit and disprove any plausible and serious non-drug lifestyle therapy.
Anger at what the Alzheimer’s charities are doing:
Non-drug strategies top prevention chart:
A remarkable result with B vitamins:
Drug with lowest predicted benefit gets £2 million funding:
Combining non-drug therapies doesn’t raise risks:
This however is not a problem that happens with non-drug prevention approaches – exercise, diet, B vitamins and omega 3 and the like. In fact a combination is highly likely to be more effective than any single change. Better diet and more exercise combined do not generate side effects.
But we are not going to find out what improvements such combinations could produce while the charities and the government refuse to fund them and instead subject them to biased trials apparently designed to produce negative results.
Changing this commercially driven bias is obviously a huge challenge and the topic for another blog but it will involve doctors becoming much more informed about nutrition and making lifestyle treatments for chronic disease a public health issue and so less vulnerable to being side-lined by commercial values.
A starting place for such a change could be with the patients and carers themselves. It’s already happening in other specialities; diabetes patients are increasingly questioning the benefits of a low fat diet and reporting much greater benefits by going low carb.
So what about a donation strike by those who give time and money to Alzheimer’s charities until prevention becomes a guiding principle rather than a broken promise?"