Separating Fact from Fiction: 5 Common Alzheimer’s Myths Debunked
Alzheimer’s disease was originally discovered more than a century ago. Despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on research, the deadly form of dementia is still pretty much a mystery to us. There’s no cure, treatment or clear cause for the disease. With so many questions left unanswered, there are plenty of Alzheimer’s myths floating around out there. Let’s take a look at five of the most common myths and the real truth behind them.
Dementia is Caused by Artificial Sweeteners
This myth was originally spread about an artificial sweetener known as aspartame, better known as NutraSweet. The claim was that this sweetener actually caused Alzheimer’s disease. The myth actually prompted such a wild fire that Dr. David G. Hattan, Director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation of the FDA (PDF Warning), was forced to publicly respond. He assured the public that, despite legitimate and multiple attempts to prove otherwise, aspartame does not cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Gaining Extra Weight Can Prevent Alzheimer’s
Another myth states that being up to ten pounds overweight can actually protect seniors from Alzheimer’s. This is an absurd idea on multiple levels. The most glaring issue with statement is that obesity is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. What’s worse, this rumor was allegedly started by a fast food restaurant.
Certain Foods Can Cure Alzheimer’s Symptoms
When dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, most caregivers understand the importance of healthy diet and exercise. Eating foods that boost brain health may lower a senior’s risk of developing dementia, but they do nothing to cure, delay or slow the deadly disease.
Flu Vaccination Can Trigger Alzheimer’s
Many of the ingredients found in a flu vaccination have been called into question at one point or another. Despite rigorous testing, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control have never been able to find a link between flu vaccinations and the incidence of Alzheimer’s among senior citizens. Not only is this myth false, it is also dangerous. According to the CDC, seniors and children pose the highest risk of developing or suffering profound complications from the flu.
Seniors Experiencing Memory Loss Should Always Suspect Alzheimer’s
Memory loss is actually a common sign of aging. Seniors who suffer from slight memory loss should not automatically assume the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it’s perfectly normal for older adults to forget where they laid the car keys or have trouble recalling a loved one’s telephone number. However, when that memory loss begins to affect a senior’s daily functioning or inhibits their ability to communicate, it’s time to see a physician.