Music and Meditation and Alzheimer’s Disease

Music and meditation and Alzheimer’s disease are coming together in a forth coming book to be penned by, esteemed researcher, Rudolph Tanzi and renowned author and Doctor, Deepak Chopra.

Music and Meditation and Alzheimer’s Disease

Music and Meditation and Alzheimer’s Disease

The two meet at a TEDMED conference and were attracted to each other research and have agreed to collaborate on a book, that according to Tanzi will be about, “how to optimize the use of your brain to elevate both your levels of consciousness and cognition.”

I can say that as a member of the baby boomer generation this subject holds more than a passing interest for me, and really no matter what age group you’re in, ultimately, it should for you too. I have long been aware of the benefits of meditation as a means of stress reduction.

It is the connection between meditation, consciousness and Alzheimer’s that would, also be of interest to Dr. Chopra.

The benefits of a regular meditation practice are one of the most scientifically proven ways to elicit the relaxation response and reduce stress. It is the eliciting of the relaxation response that is one of the most powerful ways to delay memory loss and possibly even the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is believed to be as the result of anti-stress response and the lower production of cortisol a dangerous stress hormone.

Tanzi’s interest in music and Alzheimer’s disease, sparked by his own love of playing music, as prompted him to begin working on a book about music therapy for Alzheimer’s disease (as yet unfinished). He leads the Alzheimer’s Genome project and in article, published at KTVU.com, is working on…

“…a groundbreaking initiative in collaboration with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund that is dedicated to finding genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Once scientists identify what’s going wrong with those genes in people who have the condition, they can work toward developing drugs that may repair the damage. “The idea is fix what’s broken,” Tanzi said.

Beginning with an accordion at age 9, Tanzi has always loved playing music, and that passion isn’t entirely separate from the work that he does on neurological conditions. In fact, right now he’s working on a book about music therapy for Alzheimer’s disease – more details will follow when it’s further along.

Tanzi is composing and practicing music all the time, which he says helps his research. It keeps his mind clear and free to come up with new ideas that can be tested in the lab later.

“For me, music is just an integral part of keeping my mind in the right state for doing science that’s hopefully novel and creative and out of the box and not simply derivative,” he said.

One focus of Tanzi’s group is examining genes associated with the brain’s immune system. This system is designed to help you in the event of trauma (such as concussion or stroke) or infection, but too much activity in the brain’s immune system can damage neurons, too. It seems that this system’s activity influences the buildup of beta-amyloid, the main ingredient of plaques seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The current goal is to develop drugs that could prevent this accumulation of beta-amyloid. Like cholesterol, beta-amyloid serves a purpose, but too much buildup is bad. The drugs in development “could be the statins of Alzheimer’s,” Tanzi explains.

A drug with a different mechanism that Tanzi’s group influenced is now in clinical trials. That one is designed to prevent the copper and zinc from binding to beta-amyloid, which would redistribute these metals in the brain and therefore reduce the brain plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer’s. The drug is being tested by Prana Biotechnology, an Australian company that began in Tanzi’s lab; evidence from phase II clinical trials suggests it may help cognitive function in patients, but further study is needed to say for sure.

Tanzi is also exploring a possible association between a commonly used anesthetic called isoflurane and Alzheimer’s. In mice, experiments have found that this chemical increases the production of beta-amyloid; whether this is also the case in humans is the subject of further exploration.

Having read other research that carnivores in the animal kingdom appear more likely to show Alzheimer’s pathology than herbivores, Tanzi is a vegetarian. There’s no new study on the subject, but existing evidence suggests there may be a connection, at least among animals. And in humans, the Mediterranean diet, which is low in red meat and high in vegetable content, has been associated with lower Alzheimer’s risk in several studies.” Read more…

This collaboration could be an important one, because medical studies indicate that by delaying the onset of memory loss by as little as five years that we can reduce a person’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease up to fifty percent. And if the memory is kept strong for ten years longer than expected that there is almost no risk of Alzheimer’s.

Music and meditation and Alzheimer’s disease are going to be linked together in a powerful way, and I believe for the benefit of us all.

Genes, Time & Immortality…Rudolph Tanzi, PH. D . & Deepak Chopra Part #1

Genes, Time & Immortality…Rudolph Tanzi, PH. D . & Deepak Chopra Part #1

Genes, Time & Immortality…Rudolph Tanzi, PH. D . & Deepak Chopra Part # 2

Genes, Time & Immortality…Rudolph Tanzi, PH. D . & Deepak Chopra Part # 2

Henry McCance and Rudolph Tanzi at TEDMED 2010

Rudolph Tanzi describes the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and how a venture capital-style funding model backed by Henry McCance has helped lead to progress in fighting this disease.

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