Let’s End The Era of “Diagnose and Adios”
Today’s post is from a close friend of Grain Brain, Max Lugavere. – Dr. Perlmutter
My name is Max Lugavere and I’m a filmmaker, currently in production on a feature-length, millennial-focused documentary exploring the impact of diet and lifestyle on brain health. I also write when so inspired, and was happy to have interviewed Dr. Perlmutter for Psychology Today last year just after Grain Brain came out. As of today our interview has almost 400,000 views.
I became very interested in the topic of diet and lifestyle as it pertains to brain health when, three years ago, my mom, at age 59, began showing signs of cognitive decline. Because her symptoms were somewhat atypical, at the time, it sent us around the country to top hospitals in order to find out “what she had”. It was at that time that I put Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia which currently affects 45 million people worldwide, in my crosshairs.
Over the course of my journey, I stumbled upon an unsettling adage commonly used to describe the treatment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases: diagnose and adios. This off-color remark is commonly used within the walls of medical schools to convey the lack of effective treatment options (short of surgery) for patients who present to neurologists.
It’s for this reason that I’m inspired by the work of neurologists who look to translate the latest scientific findings to address the underlying disease—to, using Dr. Perlmutter’s words, address the fire, not merely the smoke. These neurologists modulate a multitude of factors—from diet to exercise to optimizing sleep—and are seeing results.
The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published that it takes on average of 17 years for just 14% of what is discovered in science to make it into day-to-day-clinical practice. In my opinion, we need to do better, especially since changes can begin in the brain DECADES before the first Alzheimer’s symptom. This is not time that we have to spare.
That’s why it’s my intent with BREAD HEAD to get these insights out to a demographic while there’s still time to make a difference: young people. And to continue to support the brilliant scientists who are in pursuit of a cure, but to not sit idly as we wait for one.