(Washington, D.C.) --- Alzheimer’s disease is largely a disease of lifestyle and, as such, can be prevented. This bold message of hope was taken to the U.S. House of Representatives last week by best selling author and international Alzheimer’s authority Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. Dr. Khalsa, President and Medical Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation International, was invited by Congress to discuss his pioneering work in the area of lifestyle influence on Alzheimer’s disease, and testified before a House Appropriations Subcommittee on the need for a renewed prevention research agenda at the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
In his appearance before the Subcommittee, Dr. Khalsa praised the NIA for its leadership in ranking Alzheimer’s research among its hallmark initiatives. It is the focus of this research, however, that drew Khalsa’s criticism. “I am deeply concerned that the research activities sponsored by the Institute continue to be one-dimensional,” said Khalsa, explaining that most of the federal research in this area continues to test techniques in isolation, not in the integrative manner that he believes is essential to effective prevention.
Current NIA research in the area of Alzheimer’s prevention is limited to the impact of what Khalsa calls “magic bullet interventions,” such as the impact of Vitamin E on memory. Khalsa argued that an integrative approach to prevention is the most effective, one that combines diet and nutritional supplementation, physical and cognitive exercise, stress management and mind-body medicine, and pharmaceutical medications and hormones. Research based on this integrative approach, Khalsa argued, “combines the best of good science with the best of good sense, and that is a critical step along the journey to eradicate the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s.”
Khalsa asked Congress to set aside one percent of the NIA’s current budget of $1 billion, or $10 million, for genuine integrative research that explores lifestyle influences on Alzheimer’s. He also called on Congress to fund a national education and outreach campaign designed to inform the public on the benefits of an integrative approach to Alzheimer’s prevention.
The National Institute on Aging has called Alzheimer’s disease “a looming public health threat.” Alzheimer’s currently affects more than 4 million people in the United States. The number of those diagnosed with the disease could reach 14 million in just 40 years if a therapy for prevention is not implemented. For more information on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, please visit the Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation International at www.alzheimersprevention.org.
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