November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
10/31/2010 1:31 PM
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to more than 5.3 million. By the age of 65, one in eight will develop Alzheimer's; by the age of 85, 50% will have the disease. And starting next year in 2011, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old each day. That means over the next four decades the number of Alzheimer’s patients could triple.
Why is there such a dramatic increase in the number of people who now have Alzheimer’s?
Excerpts from Kathleen Brehony’s book-- Living A Connected life.
“We’ve seen just how fiercely humans are biologically and psychologically designed to connect with one another. We yearn for the feeling that we belong and are loved. But as we’ll see, there are many signs that our society is sorely lacking in this deep and essential experience of community. Many of us cannot find out tribe; most of us can’t even find the time to try. We’re socially isolated and wax nostalgic for the golden day of yore when families spent time together, when friends knew each other intimately, when neighbors cared about one another and—like the theme song Cheers—when we had a place where everybody knows our name. But for the most part, we’re not hanging out together basking in warm feelings of relatedness to one another, our community, nature and the world itself. Instead, loneliness is rampant and the majority of us are bowling alone.”
“The baby boomer generation is among the most educated in the world and yet less involved in community and civic life than their less-educated parents. So the question remains: What happened to us? Robert Putnam frames it like this: “Why, beginning in the 1960’s and accelerating in the 1970 and 1980’s did the fabric of American community life begin to fray? Why are more Americans bowling alone?” (a whimsical titled book though profound book Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam)
“We can all list various social, cultural, and economic factors (what Putnam calls the “usual suspects”) to today sense of isolation: mobility, not enough time, the changing world brought about by technology, increasing disruption of marriage and family ties, increasing number of women in the work force reducing the social bonds of communities and generational effects.”
How does disconnection or “bowling alone” affect the brain?
When there is any type of brain problem there may be a great fight going on between their personal goals and their divine intent. These individuals may be a person who has to meet all of their own needs because in their family no one else would. This may set up a feeling of fending for ourselves or alone on our own.This may also cause a distrust of the universe. When we are unable to trust our parents, we may be set up to distrust our own divine connection thus causing many not to follow their higher purpose.
The Sixth, or Brow Chakra, is the “mind’s eye”, or how we “see “the world. It includes the brain, eyes and ears, nose, pituitary gland, pineal gland, and nervous system. Emotional sufferings of the brow chakra and MO of the individual may include lack of faith in the universe, lack of control or fear of external control, feeling abandoned, difficulty seeing, not wanting to hear, feeling unprotected,fearing the future, not being the “master of one’s own ship”, and believing that they are the only one who can handle a situation. A person with a brow chakra imbalance might be the “family hoist “who takes on the world’s problems with little recognition for doing so. These emotional sufferings might manifest in the physical body as brain problems, eye problems, hearing problems, seizures, strokes, neurological disturbances and difficulties of the spine.
Louis Cozolino, author of The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain stated in his book: “It is the power of being with others that shapes our brains.” (Page 9)“Remember the brain is a living system. Neurons are, by their nature social; they shun isolation and depend on their neighbors for survival. If they aren’t sending and receiving messages from others neurons on a constant basis, they literally shrink and die.” (page 39)
Alzheimer's is characterizedby loss of neurons and synapses in the cerbral cortex and certain subcortical regions. This loss reults in gross atrophy of the affected regions, including degenaration in the temporal lobe and parietal lobe and parts of the frontal cortex and cingulate gyrus. (Wenk GL (2003). "Neuropathologic changes in Alzheimr's diease." J Clin Psychiatry 64 Suppl9: 7-10. PMID 12934968.)
If our neurons are by nature social and they shun isolation and depend on their neighbors for survival and shrink and die without it—is that a metaphor for how we literally “shrink and die” without strong connections?
The BlueZones.com website states: “Our team has discovered that over one-third of everyone in the northeastern end of Ikaria reaches age 90.” “What’s more, they have a low incidence of cancer and heart disease, and they suffer virtually no dementia! The support they receive from family and villagers creates strong social connections that promote longevity.”
Could “bowling alone” be one of the missing pieces of why an individual is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 70 seconds in the United States? Is it something that we should at least research?
Diabetes and Alzheimer's linked
By Mayo Clinic staff--“Diabetes and Alzheimer's disease are connected in ways that still aren't completely understood. While not all research confirms the connection, many studies indicate that people with diabetes — especially type 2 diabetes — are at higher risk of eventually developing Alzheimer's disease.
My next blog will be about the connection between diabetes and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease from an emotional standpoint.