Longevity and the Brain

My mother, who’s 78 at this writing, recently received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. They were concerned about her tendency to fall forward, which is known to be an early Parkinson’s symptom, so they did the appropriate scans. Her father also had Parkinson’s, so this has been very much on our family’s minds, both for her sake and for our own.

I’ve been passionately interested in longevity for a long time – at the age of 29, I signed up for a cryonics contract with Alcor, so they’ll “Freeze me when I die”. Over the last decade I’ve been more focused on lifestyle factors – diet, exercise, sleep, and supplements – to optimize my day-to-day health and improve my odds of a long, healthy life. So when I got the news about Mom, I immediately began researching the most effective lifestyle techniques for minimizing the effects of Parkinson’s (for her), and minimizing the odds of developing it (for myself and my sisters).

Rather than just pass it around the family, I’m putting it here, in the hopes that it’s of use to the millions of people worldwide who have Parkinson’s or are at risk. Many of these tips are useful for Alzheimers and other neurodegenerative conditions as well.

The quick summary is this: There’s a lot we can do to prevent these diseases, or reduce their impact on our lives. The steps we need to take are not hard; we just need to take them seriously.

Learn more:

Recommended Reading:

  • The End of Alzheimers, Dr. Dale Bredesen – turning Alzheimer’s disease around primarily with diet and lifestyle changes.
  • Super Human, and Head Strong, by Dave Asprey – full of information on improving health and longevity from the “biohacker” perspective, with particular attention to brain performance and health. Dave approaches the brain from the perspective of someone who just wants to perform better – to have clearer thinking, more energy, and a better memory, day to day. But those same approaches work very well in heading off or dealing with the symptoms of brain disease.
  • KetoFast, Dr. Joseph Mercola – a straightforward description of a Ketogenic diet, its benefits, and a relatively painless way to incorporate fasting for even more benefit.
  • Deep Nutrition, Dr. Catherine Shanahan – excellent general book on the systemic problems caused across generations by our use of vegetable oils, sugar, and grains, and our abandonment of certain traditional foods such as organ meats and cultured foods. Very detailed work on vegetable oil’s impact on the brain.

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