What I'm reading: "The Clinics Treating Dementia Symptoms Before They Start"

Lifestyle today, cutting-edge interventions tomorrow

Long walks for better brain health — it’s never too early to start

What I'm reading: A Wall Street Journal article from earlier this month titled, The Clinics Treating Dementia Symptoms Before They Start.

The gist of the article is there in the title. Various new clinics, typically in famous hospitals like Cedars-Sinai, are offering testing and recommending interventions to stave off dementia. Most patients at these clinics are in their 40s to 60s. Some clinics take patients as young as 18.

Why this is a big deal: If things keep going as they are now, rates of Alzheimer's are expected to double in a few decades. On the other hand, 40% of dementia cases are believed to be preventable by simple lifestyle interventions, such as reduced alcohol consumption, less air pollution, and more exercise.

Lifestyle interventions are largely what these clinics seem to offer at the moment. Chrissy Goodman, a 51-year-old patient at Cedars-Sinai’s new clinic with no signs of cognitive impairment, was told to take longer walks with her dog and to cut down on sweets.

But what about new treatments? We now have new drugs that can slow the progression of Alzheimer's. These drugs might even prevent the disease indefinitely if started early enough. Plus, we just got a new test that can accurately predict dementia a decade in advance.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any mention of these exciting new developments in the article. But if these cutting-edge tests and drugs do come to a clinic, I suspect they will come to one of these clinics first. If you'd like to find out more about them, the WSJ article is worth a read.