Being Patient BrainTalks is a series of live talks bringing you answers straight from experts in brain health, covering topics like genetics and dementia risk, nutrition and the brain, mental health and the last stages of brain disease. We take questions directly from our BrainTalks community. Join the conversation here.

Being Patient: Brain Talks

A Rare Gene Has Caused Members of This Man's Family to Have a 99% Chance of Developing Alzheimer's

Would you want to know if you had a rare early onset gene that meant you were almost certainly going to get Alzheimer's? Marty Reiswig's family is just one of only 643 known to carry the genetic mutation PSEN2. Marty talks about watching 10 of his dad's 13 siblings succumb to Alzheimer's in their 40's. Watch this video to learn more about Marty's story.

Do Hormones Really Affect Your Memory?

Being Patient talks to Dr. Pauline Maki about the effect of hormones on cognition and whether there is a link between estrogen, menopause and memory loss. She's a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the director of Women's Mental Health Research and the Center for Research on Women and Gender, as well as the Alzheimer's chair at the Society for Women's Health Research.

Can Technology Help Diagnose Alzheimer's 5 Years Before Symptoms Appear?

Being Patient talks to Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, a computational neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Canada. He discusses how artificial intelligence can help diagnose cognitive decline, combined with MRI and assessing the shape of the hippocampus.

Alzheimer's and AI: How Technology Can Help with Diagnosis and Treatment

Being Patient talks to Dr. John Walker, who has founded the first company that is using precision medicine and AI to help treat Alzheimer's, about how technology could diagnose and prevent cognitive decline.

The Link Between Pregnancy, Blood Pressure and Alzheimer's

Being Patient talks to Dr. Heather Boyd from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. She's the leading author of a new study that found high blood pressure during pregnancy may triple dementia risk later in life.

1:08 Why study pregnancy and dementia risk?
3:25 The relationship between pre-eclampsia and dementia
5:08 The relationship between vascular health and the brain
7:40 What will future research on pre-eclampsia and dementia focus on?

Two-Thirds of Alzheimer's Patients Are Women. Here's How That's Affecting the Search for a Cure.

Being Patient talks to Dr. Rebecca Nebel about why Alzheimer's presents itself differently in women compared to men and how these differences impact basic research and clinical trials.

0:40 Why are women more susceptible to Alzheimer's than men?
4:35 What is the relationship between hormones and dementia risk?
6:36 What is the relationship between depression, gender and dementia risk?
9:40 Women in clinical trials

Why Alzheimer's Hits Women Harder Than Men

We talk to Dr. Marie Pasinski, faculty member at Harvard Medical School and neurologist at Massachusetts General's Institute for Brain Health, about why two out of three Americans with Alzheimer's are women and why it's especially important for women to address modifiable lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer's.

0:50 How does gender affect susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease?
2:20 What lifestyle factors can we modify to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s?
7:30 How does stress impact women and affect their Alzheimer’s risk?
16:10 Since females are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, how should they assess their risk and what should they be aware of?

Could Being 'Skinny Fat' Harm Your Brain?

We know that obesity is linked to increased dementia risk—but what about being 'skinny fat'? Being Patient talks to Dr. James Galvin, associate dean for clinical research at the Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine, about what he's discovered in a recent study of over 300 people.

1:00 What does it mean to be 'skinny fat'?
2:45 Is 'skinny fat' linked to genetics or do people become more susceptible as they age?
10:58: What is the connection between 'skinny fat' and Alzheimer's?
20:30 Is it exercise or eliminating 'skinny fat' that could help prevent Alzheimer's?

Not My Mom: How Brain Disease Alters Personality

We talk to UCSF's Dr. Bruce Miller, head of the Global Brain Health Institute and a world renowned expert on how dementia alters behavior and personality.

0:49 What is happening inside the brain that changes behavior in dementia patients?
4:48 What do personality changes with Alzheimer’s tell us about where behavior is controlled inside the brain?
8:19 What does the evidence show about how non-drug approaches manage behavioral symptoms?
10:50 Do behavioral strategies like agreeing with your loved one’s hallucinations work to control aggression?

Studies Show That a Memory and Mood Booster Could Be Hiding in Your Spice Cabinet

Being Patient talks to Dr. Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA’s Longevity Center and of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, about how curcumin can improve memory.

1:41 Why conduct a clinical trial on curcumin’s impact on memory?
8:20 Results of the clinical trial on curcumin and memory
12:48 How curcumin may help prevent Alzheimer’s
13:01 How should people consume curcumin to protect their memory?

Traumatic Brain Injury: Could It Cause Dementia?

We talk to Dr. Bruce Lamb, Head of the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at Indiana University, about how a traumatic brain injury can kick-start inflammation in the brain and, potentially, lead to dementia.

1:04 The latest research on traumatic brain injuries and dementia
4:32 How a traumatic brain injury may lead to dementia
9:30 Research on the impact of head injuries from sports
31:24 Future research on traumatic brain injuries and dementia

Fasting and the Brain: Why Eating Less May Lower Dementia Risk

We talk to Professor Valter Longo from the University of Southern California about why he believes fasting could be the most potent way to activate rejuvenation processes in the body and lower risk of disease. He is the creator of the fasting mimicking diet (FMD) and the director of USC’s Longevity Institute.

18:08 How does fasting translate into a long-lasting impact on the brain?
20:45 What kind of foods are part of the Fasting Mimicking Diet?
23:42 How many hours should you fast for?
24:40 Will a body in ketosis have the same response as a body that is fasting?

Could Sound Waves Be the Key to Treating Alzheimer's?

We talk to Dr. Nir Lipsman, a neurosurgeon at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC 2018) about how ultrasound technology could be used to treat Alzheimer's. 

0:42 The first study that used ultrasound technology on humans with Alzheimer’s
4:01 How to use ultrasound technology on Alzheimer’s patients
21:10 Dangers of using this procedure
23:37 Making this technology publicly available
26:05 Combining medications with this technology

Can You Really Prevent Alzheimer's? Leading Harvard Researcher Weighs In

We talk to Rudy Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard University and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital about what he's learned from over 35 years of research on the brain.

0:00 Beta-amyloid: Why it triggers nerve cell death
16:16 SHIELD: How to protect your brain health with lifestyle habits
16:26 Epigenetics: How your lifestyle affects your genes
16:45 The microbiome: Why gut health is key to brain health

The Effects of Chronic Stress on the Brain

We talk to Daniela Kaufer, from the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, about the effects of chronic stress on the brain.

0:00: When does stress help or harm the brain?
16:20: Your genes and stress
16:27: Does stress cause dementia?
16:32: Can we reverse aging?

Can Diet Prevent Alzheimer's: Exploring the MIND Diet

We talk to Dr. Martha Clare Morris, who developed the MIND diet, about how diet may help prevent Alzheimer's.

1:07: The MIND diet studies' methods and findings
4:45: The newest MIND diet trial and what researchers will know by 2021
21:23: Why wine is included in the MIND diet
35:50: Can dietary changes help someone who's already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's?

Alcohol and Alzheimer's: Does Alcohol Increase Your Alzheimer's Risk?

We talk to Dr. Douglas Feinstein, a research professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and research biologist at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, about alcohol and the brain.

5:23: What the latest research tells us about alcohol and brain
10:00: Is a glass of red wine really good for your brain?
21:27: What scientists are looking at next

Genetics and Alzheimer's: What the Latest Research Says

We talk to Dr. Nathaniel Chin, Director of Medical Services at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, about what the current research says about your genetics and Alzheimer's risk.

0:54: Genetics and dementia: what the latest research says
4:04: How the ApoE4 gene increases Alzheimer's risk
10:26: Who should get a genetic test of Alzheimer's
33:54: The genes that could protect against Alzheimer's

The Last Stage of Alzheimer's: What You Need to Know

We talk to Dr. Liz Sampson, an expert in end-life-care, and Jasja Kotterman, who lost her mother to Alzheimer's, about what to expect in the last stage of Alzheimer's and the best way to care for a loved one.

00:00 What happens to the brain at the end of Alzheimer's
12:36 The questions you should ask your doctor about the end stage of Alzheimer's
21:21 The symptoms of death in dementia: what carers need to know
26:45 How to approach end-of-life discussions
32:50 Preparing for the final stage of Alzheimer's

Caregiver Health: Stress, Grief and How to Cope

We talk to Lori Nisson, Director of Family and Community Services at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute about how to protect your mental health while caregiving, and deal with the grief of losing the person you love while they're still with you.

0:27: What is ambiguous loss?
9:24: Helping caregivers take care of their brain health
18:55 Start early: making a care plan for dementia
19:41: Breaking the promise to never put a loved one in a nursing home

Should I Get a Genetic Test for Alzheimer's?

We talk to Jamie Tyrone, who has two copies of the Apoe4 gene, putting her at a greatly elevated risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. She tells us about how genetic testing changed her life and what you need to consider before you get tested.

0:00 How genetic testing changed Jamie's life
16:10 Making the decision: finding a genetic counsellor
23:20 How lifestyle and genetics may affect Alzheimer's risk
44:20 The top things to consider before getting a genetic test

When is Forgetfulness a Sign of Disease? The Difference Between Alzheimer's and Normal Aging

We talk to Dr. Bill Burke, M.D., Director of the Stead Family Memory Center at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, on what you need to ask your doctor if you think you or a loved one has signs of cognitive decline.

0:57 What happens to the brain in normal aging
11:43 Getting a baseline cognitive test
27:08 M.C.I. and dementia: Is M.C.I. a red flag for dementia?
34:45 Why early assessment matters
40:42 How to participate in a clinical trial

Is the Ketogenic Diet Good for Your Brain?

We talk to Dr. Ed Blonz, biochemist and nutrition researcher at UCSF about how your brain could benefit from a diet rich in fat-based fuels called ketones.

4:18 Are ketones a better fuel source for the brain than glucose?
16:48 Why diet matters for dementia risk
22:15 Carbs, coconut oil and brain health: busting the myths
43:30 The best diet for someone with dementia
51:45 Concussions, ketones and dementia