Alzheimer's disease, a disease for which there is no cure or particularly meaningful treatment, can begin in the brain decades — not weeks or even months, but decades — before the very first symptom. It's the most common form of dementia, and contrary to popular belief, is not a normal part of aging, according to the World Health Organization. There are 45 million people worldwide suffering from it, and that number is set to soar in coming years.
I'm only 32, but I became obsessed with the topic of brain health when I started seeing signs of cognitive decline in my mom, who's now 62. Like anybody would in a time of such difficulty, I became instantly mobilized to find ways of helping her.
But as a science and nutrition junkie, and somebody who lives to push his own cognitive boundaries, I went the extra mile to try to understand the cause. This, I thought, could also help me optimize my own brain health and delay or prevent decline from ever happening to me.
BREAD HEAD is a film that will document this journey and look at the many lifestyle choices that you can make to optimize brain health and ensure that you have the best chance possible to avoid becoming demented. It will be a trip to the cutting edge of neuroscience, featuring some names familiar to regular MindBodyGreen readers, and others that may be new to you. My ultimate hope is to awaken young people to the idea of "prevention" by extending these insights beyond the health and wellness community to the general population.
Our brains are incredible. Eighty-six billion neurons situated neatly behind our eyes, the flagship product of billions of years of evolution, and responsible for everything that makes human society great (and sometimes not so great). It affords us the gift of agency — to dream up the impossible, to create new realities, and to push limits that no known entity in the universe can even come close to emulating. We can read our own DNA. We can ponder the infinite. And while it's true that brain science is still relatively nascent — we know more about the vast emptiness of space than our own brains — we are not in the dark.
Exactly one year ago, 109 top-tier scientists from 36 countries petitioned governments of the G-8 countries to make prevention a priority, in a statement titled "Dementia (Including Alzheimer's Disease) Can Be Prevented." Additionally, Lancet Neurology, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, printed just a few months ago that one third of Alzheimer's cases worldwide may be attributable to modifiable risk factors. Modifiable is a powerful world. It means we have control.
And yet, the CDC reported that it takes on average 17 years for just 14% of what is discovered in science to make it into day-to-day clinical care. My goal with BREAD HEAD is to shrink this lag time for the sake of our brains. It's an idea whose time has come.
Join me on this journey. Watch our teaser video, contribute, and help move the needle on this pressing global issue together with me by visiting our page on Kickstarter.
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