Your Brain (Health) on Drugs

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Recently the FDA announced plans to grant Leqembi, a new Alzheimer’s drug, full approval in July 2023. 

With an annual cost of $26,500 USD, you would expect the drug’s effects to be dramatic.  And researchers were thrilled to report that Leqembi…slowed cognitive decline by…27% over 18 months. 


That translates to your Alzheimer’s progressing more slowly than it would without spending big money by about 5-6 months. 

What if we took even just 10% of the cost of the drug and gave it to 10 people with early- to mid-stage Alzheimer’s and had those funds spent on qualified fitness professionals, better nutrition, stress management, and better sleep?

These are all lifestyle factors shown to dramatically decrease the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s and significantly slow the progression of the disease – at least as much or more than (if you combine multiple lifestyle factors) Leqembi does. 

With the same amount of money, you could likely get as good or better results for 10 times as many people. 

There are 18 lifestyle factors, most of which are controllable to some extent, that play a significant role in brain health.  None of these lifestyle factors has any downside or potentially harmful side effects (all the side effects are positive).  Leqembi carries the potential for some serious side effects like brain swelling and bleeding.

And yet, many in the public along with advocacy groups like the Alzheimer’s Association, are pushing hard for full approval of the drug and for it to be covered by Medicare. 

Why put our hopes on a drug that gets you about a 1% improvement for every $1,000 USD of expenditure?

Continually putting faith in pharmaceuticals alone as a path to help is a strategy of failure – and we never seem to learn. 

There is much we can do to enhance brain health – both in terms of preventing or slowing most brain disease – by what we eat, what we do, how we manage stress, how much we socialize, listen to music, learn new things, etc. 

If we just live – actively participate in our own lives – and connect with others while using our bodies and brains, we can improve the quality of today and our chances for a future filled with vitality and slow the progression of brain disease if we get it while decreasing the chance that we ever do.

Leqembi or Lifestyle? What do you choose?

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