Earlier this week, a new study showed that a lack of sleep can contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s. Now, another report tells us why some older folks develop the dreaded disease, which presently affects nearly 7 million Americans, and why some don’t. The key might be protein.
Alzheimer’s typically results when a person’s brain racks up large groupings of plaque and tangles, inhibiting its normal functions and causing deterioration of crucial brain areas. The new report, published Wednesday in the Nature journal, found that Alzheimer’s patients lack a particular protein (known as REST) that could help protect brain cells from the stresses of aging. Older folks with the protein, by contrast, don’t tend to develop Alzheimer’s at all.
That could mean a big breakthrough in the field of Alzheimer’s research, especially if REST research can be used to create pharmaceutical drugs for treating dementia. Until this point, dementia has been almost completely impossible to treat, says a story in The New York Times.
While it’s never been completely known what causes Alzheimer’s and other memory degeneration, poor diet and lifestyle choices have been listed as contributing factors. Diets high in saturated fats and bad cholesterol can lead to a greater risk for Alzheimer’s as well as general obesity, which can often be a risk factor itself, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The importance of a healthy diet really can’t be stressed enough, the experts say, and neglecting healthy foods can often lead to other aging problems like hair loss.
“As well as it being genetic, the loss of testosterone, steroid abuse, stress and definitely your health and eating habits affect hair loss,” explains Bryce Cleveland, owner of Scalp Aesthetics.
Protein plays an important role in preventing hair loss, too, as hair follicles are made up of protein almost entirely. Foods rich in protein can help your hair grow, resulting in a fuller, richer scalp. WedMD recommends plenty of iron and vitamins D and E, especially the kind that can be obtained through lean meats like chicken and pork. For vegetarians, legumes and nuts are essential for meeting daily iron requirements.
Of course, when your hair loss problems are genetic, the best course of action might be to invest in a treatment option like scalp micropigmentation.
Aging might not be particularly pleasant, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster, either. There are plenty of ways you can stave off memory troubles, hair loss and other issues associated with getting older. You just need to know where to begin.