Nourishing Our Brains and Preventing Dementia with Ayesha Sherzai, MD: PYP 279

Ayesha Sherzai, MD, is one half of Team Sherzai, along with her husband, Dean (also MD). She's codirector of the Brain Health and Alzheimer's Prevention Program at Loma Linda University, where she leads the Lifestyle Program for the Prevention of Neurological Diseases.

She's got three lifetime's worth of degrees (preventive medicine, neurology, advanced research methodology, lifestyle and vascular brain diseases) as well as certificates from two cooking schools.

I tell you this to impress upon you that Ayesha knows what she's talking about, not to make you feel like you have been wasting your life in comparison 😉

The Sherzais are the authors of the most excellent book, The Alzheimer's Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age.

I first came across their work while listening to them on the Rich Roll Podcast. You should definitely listen to that episode, because it's fantastic, and covers the fundamentals of their research and clinical work. Since that interview already exists, I took the liberty of indulging my own curiosity in some more obscure rabbit holes of research and practice.

Dean was unable to join the conversation, as he had been called away by a medical emergency. Ayesha and I had a lovely conversation, one that in my humble opinion was far too short 😉 We covered:

  • the invention of “preventive neurology”
  • the zero percent success rate of Alzheimer's drugs
  • when research is based on false models, it produces nothing of value
  • brain pathology manifests behaviorally decades before we can find physical damage
  • the brain uses the same vascular system as the rest of the body – and is always working hard to eliminate toxic byproducts of an unhealthy lifestyle
  • the interplay of genetic and lifestyle factors in dementia
  • lifestyle as “off-label” treatment for cognitive decline
  • Pfizer's failed Alzheimer's research program
  • the evidence for a plant-based diet is extremely clear
  • FINGER study
  • Paul Giem's 1990s research on meat and Alzheimer's in the Adventist population
  • The MIND diet reduced Alzheimer's risk by 53%
  • risk of vascular dementia and stroke is reduced by every incremental improvement in diet
  • “In my entire medical education, I never had a single class about lifestyle and disease prevention”
  • “It's depressing” – passing out nursing home brochures and telling patients to brace themselves
  • the affliction of reductionism in medical research and treatment
  • the NEURO plan:
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Unwind (stress management)
  • Restorative sleep
  • Optimize cognitive activities (in a social context)
  • “It's very personal” – seeing grandparents, parents, and patients suffer
  • “soccer shoes and aluminum” – the curse of infinite potential correlation and confirmation bias
  • “Butter and bacon will never be back”
  • the gap between David Katz and Caldwell Esselstyn on extra virgin olive oil, and why The Alzheimer's Solution has olive oil in some recipes
  • helping patients avoid the “nuclear minefield” of lifestyle change without a plan or support
  • the difference between personalized lifestyle medicine and “bio-individuality”
  • the neurological reason that habits are hard to change
  • “motivation is such a misnomer”
  • motivation is created through small successes associated with an emotion
  • motivation maintenance requires ongoing small successes
  • people are more frightened of dementia than death
  • “we are our brain” – you can replace a heart, a kidney, a liver
  • the Healthy Minds Initiative – recipient of all the profits from The Alzheimer's Solution
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box or audio recording box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Talk Back

Links

The Alzheimer's Solution, by Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, MD

TeamSherzai.com

The Healthy Minds Initiative

Team Sherzai on the Rich Roll Podcast

Adventist Health Study on meat and dementia

Pfizer drops Alzheimer's research

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2 Responses to “Nourishing Our Brains and Preventing Dementia with Ayesha Sherzai, MD: PYP 279”

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  1. Marta says:

    Howard! I just finished listening ALL your podcasts. It was almost full time job for like a month, but I did it! I have to say: you are awesome. I love all your talks, you ask really good, key, funny and surprising questions and you invite totally different people, from doctors to bloggers, plant based eaters who overcame their deaseses and even few alternative practitioners. For all of them you were same: full of respect, sensitive and just kind. It was pleasure to see all your progress as a podcast blogger through the years. Now I feel like I know you because you also share with us your knowledge, humor and vulnerability. I want to join your big change program. Thanks to you I eat plant based diet for 5 weeks so far, but I have moments too 🙂 I change few things thanks to yours and your guests advice. Thank you for all you work!!!

    • Howard says:

      Thanks, Marta, for those incredibly kind and generous words! I can’t imagine a month listening to my podcasts – I think I’d burn out before finishing 🙂

      I’m so glad the work has been helpful to you. Any particular guests you’d like to thank specifically?

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