NBC NEWS VIDEO:
Doctors say “prevention” is the new Alzheimer’s frontier – and it does reduce the risk. See how.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:
Cases of Alzheimer’s continue to grow in this country. More than five million Americans are living with it
and we’re told that number is expected to triple by 2050. With no effective treatment yet, prevention is the
new frontier and the key to it may come much earlier in life than previously thought. Our report tonight
from our Chief Medical Editor Doctor Nancy Snyderman.
Transcript continued below…
DOCTOR NANCY SNYDERMAN, reporting:
Thirty-two-year-old musician and filmmaker Max Lugavere does not look like someone worried about
Alzheimer’s, but he is. What did you see in your mom that concerned you?
MAX LUGAVERE: My mother who is 62, three years ago started having symptoms of– of memory loss
and cognitive difficulty. So I became obsessed with this idea of taking steps in my own life that could
potentially ensure that I’ll never have anything like dementia.
DOCTOR RICHARD ISAACSON: I mean the results were fascinating.
DR. SNYDERMAN: In hopes of warding off the disease by intervening at a young age–
LUGAVERE: And what kind of memories is this testing for?
DR. SNYDERMAN: –he’s participating in a unique Alzheimer’s prevention clinic at New York
Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
DR. ISAACSON: What brings us home for me is my Uncle Bob.
DR. SNYDERMAN: Clinic director Doctor Richard Isaacson who has Alzheimer’s in his own family–
DR. ISAACSON: That’s my Uncle Bob.
DR. SNYDERMAN: –designs personalized programs for younger people like Max who may be at high
DR. ISAACSON: Your brain is processing really well. I try to use a person’s genetic background to help
me refine or fine tune the suggestions I make to patients.
DR. SNYDERMAN: While a young and seemingly healthy, Max’s blood tells another story. He has a
genetic variation and high levels of an amino acid associated with an increased risk for dementia.
LUGAVERE: I’m definitely a big fan of blueberries.
DR. SNYDERMAN: To reduce those levels, he’s changing his diet and lifestyle. Playing music may also
reduce the risk of dementia.
DR. ISAACSON: Lifetime musical experience as well as midlife onward musical experience can
absolutely– it’s been proven to delay cognitive decline.
DR. SNYDERMAN: Doctor Isaacson believes delaying cognitive decline could be the first step in
warding off Alzheimer’s disease.
DR. ISAACSON: We have to empower young people and people of all ages to make brain-healthier
DR. SNYDERMAN: This is so important because the brain changes leading to Alzheimer’s can start as
early as 20 years before symptoms show up. This is the new frontier, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Thinking about that guitar I have in the corner of the den. Nancy Snyderman, we’ll take the
good news. Thank you very much.
DR. SNYDERMAN: It is good news.