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Move Further from the Shadow of Alzheimer’s

Move Further from the Shadow of Alzheimer’s

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For primary care physicians, an unfortunately common task is to alert patients to deliver the bad news of lurking health trouble. A far happier task is to bring positive news: new research indicates strongly that we can improve our odds of warding off Alzheimer’s disease, with its memory loss and other cognitive storms.

More than one in ten Americans over 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s, and many are so desperate about Alzheimer’s that they fall victim to online scams. The FDA recently issued warnings to firms illegally selling 58 ineffective, unsafe, and unproven products that claim to help with Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

I have been a physician in Naples for the past four years, with predominantly mature patients. How I wish I could prescribe a miracle pill for this brain disease. The newest drug for Alzheimer’s has troubling side effects and costs about $56,000 a year. Its effectiveness is so open to question that five members of the FDA’s advisory committee resigned to protest its approval. Not, perhaps, a miracle pill.

A New Hope
Fortunately, there is hope, as a new article in the Journal of Neuroscience illustrates. For this study, scientists at several medical research institutions used data from hundreds of people—mostly in their 80s—who took cognition tests and wore activity monitors. Some participants were much more physically active, and this research is an unmistakable endorsement that confirms prior studies: those who moved more were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

These were big differences, not subtle ones. The key point is this: if you want to avoid memory loss and extend the time you have to enjoy your activities, your life, and the people you love, then move more. Just move. You don’t have to run marathons or lift barbells. Start with achievable goals. An hour a day of modest activity is an excellent starting point. Not only that, but even if you have already started to notice some memory issues, walking and moving may actually help reverse some of that brain fog. Intuitively, you may have noticed that the more active people around us are generally healthier, both mentally and physically. Now there is great science behind that conclusion.

The Right Provider Makes a Difference
In your efforts to warding off Alzheimer’s and other disease, having a primary care physician who takes the time to listen, understand, and work with you is of utmost importance. At WellcomeMD, we have time to pay attention to up-to-date research—we limit membership, allowing our physicians to see patients with same-day or next-day appointments. Appointments aren’t rushed—longer and more frequent visits mean that our patients are able to establish a proactive relationship with their doctor. And because we stay on schedule, we have a “waitless” waiting room—time spent waiting to see your physician is negligible. Additionally, my patients have my email address and office phone number for day-to-day needs and questions. For after-hour/weekend/holiday emergencies, I also give patients my direct cell phone number.

We are currently open to new members in Naples. Our annual fee includes a very thorough yearly physical exam and follow-up monitoring—we’re proactive about health, with extensive bloodwork and genetic testing to assess for potential health problems that can be prevented before the condition requires sick care. If this sounds consistent with your or your loved ones’ health goals, let’s meet and talk.

Melissa MacVenn, MD, is a board-certified family concierge medical physician with over 10 years of experience treating patients with complex medical conditions. She and her team offer complimentary consultations to answer any questions you may have on how Dr. MacVenn can help you achieve your optimal health.

For more information, visit: WellcomeMD.com/naples-florida or contact our Membership Director, Tara Greenberg 239.880.2562 or tara.greenberg@wellcomemd.com. 11181 Health Park Blvd., Naples