When neurons in the brain and spinal cord begin to deteriorate, the onset of neurodegenerative disease begins. As more and more neurons deteriorate symptoms and functions such as the ability to think clearly or walk worsen. In the U.S., approximately 5 million suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, 1 million from Parkinson’s disease, 30,000 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and 30,000 from Huntington’s disease.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and early signs and symptoms so you can help a loved one.
Investigators at the Burke Neurological Institute have made great strides in understanding how nutrition can affect restoration of memory and thinking. In particular, they have discovered that abnormally high sugar levels can impair memory while strategies that lower sugar or enhance its efficient utilization improve memory. These suggest that sugar is a therapeutic target for cognitive problems due to Alzheimer’s disease or traumatic brain injury.
Burke Neurological Institute researchers were the first to show that thiamine deficiency can lead to memory problems. While the studies were first performed in alcoholics and explained Wernicke-Kosakoff’s syndrome, recent studies have shown that thiamine is low in Alzheimer’s disease. A BNI based clinical trial is actively determining whether thiamine supplementation can stem the progression of Alzheimer’s in humans as it does in mice.