The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology puts out a seasonal magazine called Vitality, that shares some of the research, programs and successes of the school.
In this fall's issue there is a great article on obesity and Alzheimer's disease.
Obesity and Alzheimer's disease have a couple things in common in that they both deal with inflammation and affect millions of people, creating a very costly dent in our healthcare system.
There are about 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease costing $286 billion dollars, the number of individuals suffering from the disease is expected to double in the next 35 years (USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics).
Obesity affects about one third of the adults in America and the costs are somewhere between $147 billion to $210 billion, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is no wonder why some of the grant money awarded to USC research studies has been used to discover more about how to prevent these diseases and halt their progression to the best of their abilities.
A study on mice conducted by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology was just published in June 2017. The study explored the links between obesity and Alzheimer's disease.
There is a gene that has been associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, ApoE4. Most people have ApoE3, only about 10 to 15 percent of the population has the ApoE4 gene.
However, just because you have the gene does not mean that you will end up with Alzheimer's disease, there are other modifiable factors in one's lifestyle that effect how our genes are expressed, which can prevent or accelerate disease.
What the study at USC showed was that diet is one of the factors that can help lower or increase one's risk.
A Standard American Diet (SAD) is typically rich in bad fats and sugar. When the intake of bad fats and sugars are reduced those with the ApoE4 gene are at less risk of the disease.
These same diet habits put one at risk for obesity which can result in diabetes, which is shown to increase one's risk of Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases.
There is more research to be done on both of these topics, but from just this study we know that we are not necessarily at the mercy of our genes and that what we put in our mouths matters.
To read the whole article about the study click the link below.
To read the whole Fall issue of USC Leonard School of Gerontology's magazine Vitality click below.