Dr Gregory Petsko

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Life expectancy increasing. Fascinating time lapse chart of fertility vs life expectancy. Fastest growing demographic is 80+. Age pyramid is flat by 2050. Problem is solved of aged people are healthy and productive. But risk of Alz Or Par increases exponentially with age. 300 million people w Alz by 2100 costing $1 trillion per year. Alz starts in focussed regions and focussed. Misfolded protein is APP. Occasionally APP misfiled and forms amyloid beta fragment. Developed retromer protein to send proteins through recycling by Golgi to avoid buildup of plaques. Spend 4 times less money on Alz research for ten times more cases. To reduce risk of Parkinson’s, drink caffeine, avoid head injuries, and avoid brain inflammation. For Alz, eat fish, keep blood pressure low, stay mentally stimulated, exercise regularly, and… Get the word out. Cognitive fitness does help stave off decline.

From q and a…. Diabetes is big risk factor. Bad nutrition definitely bad, but clear evidence for help not yet there. No reason to think that adult stem cells will do much for Alzheimer’s but may help w Parkinson’s because can target to right place in brain. Pharmaceutical industry has not picked up slack from gap in federal funding…. Now largely abandoned the sector. Some action from startups. Private philanthropy is carrying the burden. They are funding the most innovative work right now. Parkinson’s is the body snatcher. Disease is very old 5000 yrs in China. Alz more parts of brain die. Alz is the soul eater. Alzheimer’s patients don’t get cancer. Mutation impairs ability of scissors to cut. Only discovered a few months ago. Cholesterol data seem to indicate high cholesterol bad. (But of course don’t agree). Evidence building that Parkinson’s may start in microglial cells, not nerves. Not true for Alzheimer’s.

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