Book Review: The End of Alzheimer’s

“The first program to prevent and reverse cognitive decline”

I won’t bore you with the statistics about Alzheimer’s disease, suffice to say the numbers are growing and as the baby boomer generation approaches the age when Alzheimer’s begins to emerge, the numbers will be horrifyingly large.

From a personal point of view, I am within that baby boomer generation and to make matters worse, Alzheimer’s runs on one side of my family. As you might imagine, this has sharpened my focus on the disease and the prevention of it. So when I saw this book pop up on Amazon, there was no question that I was going to buy it. And, I am delighted that I did.

A very quick summary would be that Dr. Bredesen, in his lab at UCLA, has identified 36 molecular variables that can, when combined, create Alzheimer’s in any individual. Those of us with a genetic predisposition will be more likely to have some of these variables go active.

The important thing about this book is that it is scientifically, testable, and all 36 variables can be measured.

And once measured, solutions to all of these can be found.

Table Of Contents

Part One: The Alzheimer’s Solution

1: Disrupting dementia
2: Patient zero
3: How does it feel to come back from dementia?
4: How to give your self Alzheimer’s: a primer

Part Two: Deconstructing Alzheimer’s

5: Wit’s End: from bedside to bench and back
6: The God Gene: three types of Alzheimer’s disease.

Part Three: Evaluation and Personalized Therapeutics

7: The Cognoscopy: where do you stand?
8: ReCode: reversing cognitive decline
9: Success and the social network: to people’s daily routines.

Part Four: Maximizing Success

10: Putting it all together: you can do it
11: This is not easy — workarounds and crutches
12: Resistance to change

And not to put too fine a point on it, there are a great many other things that Radisson agrees with traditional medicine when he says that controlling variables such as stress, and a regular exercise program are critical in pushing back against Alzheimer’s.

Personal Note re Alzheimer’s:

Having all of the tests done is expensive. ($C 4K in 2018) But, given my family history, I took the money and on a recent trip to the US, I worked with a functional medicine physician and had the tests done. Note while I went “all in” my physician indicated there were some that “might’ be avoided because of the cost.

I am not able to describe the feeling of relief when the tests came back with few problem areas.

To be sure, there were some things that needed improvement but I was under the number of variables that indicated the disease was well established. And, by adding three supplements to my daily list, I could drive the test results to almost zero.

But what this means is that I have to maintain my fitness regime, my meditating, and have this testing done every few years to ensure I’m still on track to avoid mental degradation.

You can read the reviews and find the book here on Amazon

I note that fitness and meditation are recommended for a wide variety of anti-aging medical conditions.

From my point of view, the $4K was money well spent. And I know my mom would approve. (at 91, she’s had Alzheimer’s of increasing severity for over 16 years now and is in a nursing home) I do not want to go down that road and if you’ve ever had one of your loved ones take this journey, you too will recognize what level of commitment you’d make to avoid it for yourself.

The bottom line is that I would recommend this book highly to both potential patients and their families.

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The End Of A Great Power: Two Book Reviews

If you’re interested in entering the discussion about why the American empire is in danger of collapsing, these two books will serve as a beginning primer.

The End Is Always Near

Apocalyptic Moments, From the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses
Dan Carlin (Pub 2019)
Carlin is the host of the immensely popular podcast, Hardcore History,  and this book is an extension of some of his podcasts.

His central thesis in all of this is:

  • The more states increase their power, the more of their resources they devote to maintaining it
  • The capacity to engage in war/conflict with another power depends on the level of resources needed to win and/or maintain the existing empire.
  • States/empires begin to fail when they have to borrow money to maintain their empire and the conflicts.
  • When they run out of borrowing power, they fail.
    He writes in an engaging manner and the fact he’s using his podcast transcripts may account for some of this professionally relaxed voice in his writing.

He illustrates his thesis with specific moments both from ancient history and the near nuclear misses of the modern era.

The book is well worth the quick read of 246 pages (Amazon).

He also gives a reasonable number of “further resources” to read in the index for every chapter.

If you’re looking for a fast read and an enjoyable one to understand this subject, I’d highly recommend this book.

But Having Said That

This book was preceded by:

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

Paul Kennedy (Pub 1986)

This book is far more complete in explaining the same thesis but it shifts time frame away from the (mostly) ancient world of Carlin’s book to the years 1500 to 2000.

The New York Times reviewer had this to say:

“He expands his thesis in the introduction and epilogue. It can be easily summarized: The more states increase their power, the larger the proportion of their resources they devote to maintaining it. If too large a proportion of national resources is diverted to military purposes, this in the long run leads to a weakening of power. The capacity to sustain a conflict with a comparable state or coalition of states ultimately depends on economic strength; but states apparently at the zenith of their political power are usually already in a condition of comparative economic decline, and the United States is no exception to this rule.

Power can be maintained only by a prudent balance between the creation of wealth and military expenditure, and great powers in decline almost always hasten their demise by shifting expenditure from the former to the latter. Spain, the Netherlands, France and Britain did exactly that. Now it is the turn of the Soviet Union and the United States.”
Archives of the New York Times

In other words, pretty much what Carlin says. This book is far more dense — as befits a book written by an academic — 540 pages with an extensive index of further reading. Check it out here at Amazon

The Significant Difference Between The Two Books

Kennedy took quite a bit of flack for the last 30 pages or so where his publisher asked him to comment on the decline of the American empire (remember written in 1986 only 10 years after Vietnam) and he did so with the same set of criteria of military engagement and financial management. This drew significant argument from some economists and politicians.

Carlin does not deal with the American situation.

The Bottom Line

If you want to read an engaging book on the subject, read Carlin’s book. I’d recommend this if you’re at all interested in history and understanding how and why some of these amazing civilizations fell.

Kennedy’s book is far more complete — focussed on a more modern era — and is a bit of a slog to get through it unless you’re a serious student of history.

A Personal Note:

A quick review of online comments shows many commentators (particularly those in the U.S.) do not agree with either Carlin or Kennedy when the books would suggest the the American empire is in danger of failing. There are those who suggest the characteristics of ancient empire failures do not apply to a modern world and its economic models.

I have no deep background to comment on the intricacies of modern economics.

What I do have is my Scottish grandmother’s saying, “The piper must be paid.” 

(Every Scot knows the piper is always paid for playing — in coin or drink.)

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