Peter van de Ven Reviewer: Denise RQ Thank you for joining me.


On February, 8, 2012, my father passed away. 00:15 The truth is that was the day his heart stopped beating. 00:20 For all intents and purposes, my father had died years earlier. 00:23 It started with memory lapses, 00:26 and as time went on, his memory failed more and more, 00:29 and it got to the point where he didn't know 00:31 his own kids who came in to see him. 00:34 His personality changed, 00:36 and his ability to take care of himself was completely gone. 00:39 And... 00:42 If you could make a list of all the things that could ever happen to you, 00:47 the very last thing on your list, at the very bottom of the list, 00:50 the thing you want the least is Alzheimer's disease, 00:53 because when you lose your memory, you lose everything. 00:57 You lose everyone who ever mattered to you. 01:00 If you could look into the brain of a person who has this disease, 01:04 what you see is, between the brain cells are these unusual looking structures. 01:12 Beta-amyloid protein comes out of the cells, 01:16 and it accumulates in these little meatball-like structures 01:20 that are in front of you, on a microscopic slide. 01:24 They shouldn't be there, 01:26 and they are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. 01:30 This disease affects about half of Americans by their mid 80s. 01:33 You could say to your doctor, 01:35 "OK, I don't want that. What can I do to stop that?" 01:39 Your doctor will say, "Well, its old age and it's genetics." 01:43 There's a gene - it's called the APOE-[epsilon]4 allele. 01:47 If you have this gene from one parent, your risk is tripled; 01:51 if you got it from both parents, 01:53 your risk is 10 to 15 times higher than it was before. 01:57 What's the answer? Get new parents? 02:00 No, I don't think so. That's not it. 02:03 So, I'm sorry: it's old age, it's genes, period, that's it; 02:06 there's not a darn thing you can do just wait for it to happen. 02:09 Or maybe not. 02:11 In Chicago, researchers started something called 02:13 the Chicago Health and Ageing Project. 02:15 What they did was they looked at what people in Chicago were eating. 02:19 They did very careful dietary records in hundreds and hundreds of people, 02:23 and then they started to see who, as the years go by, 02:27 stayed mentally clear, and who developed dementia. 02:32 The first thing they keyed in on 02:34 was something that I knew about as a kid growing up in Fargo, North Dakota - 02:38 My mom had five kids, we would run down to the kitchen to the smell of bacon. 02:42 My mom would take a fork, 02:44 and she'd stick it into the frying pan and pull the hot bacon strips out 02:48 and put them on a paper towel to cool down, 02:50 and when all the bacon was out of the pan, she would carefully lift up that hot pan 02:56 and pour the grease into a jar to save it - 02:58 that's good bacon grease, you don't want to lose that! 03:01 My mother would take that jar, 03:03 and she would put it 03:05 not in the refrigerator but she'd put it on the shelf, 03:09 because my mother knew that as bacon grease cools down, 03:12 what happens to it? 03:13 It solidifies. 03:14 And the fact that it's solid at room temperature 03:17 is a sign that bacon grease is loaded with saturated fat, bad fat. 03:22 We've known for a long time that that raises cholesterol, 03:25 and there's a lot of in bacon grease. 03:27 And by the way, the next day, 03:28 she'd spoon it back into the frying pan and fry eggs in it; 03:31 it's amazing any of her children lived to adulthood. 03:34 That's the way we lived. 03:35 The number one source of saturated fat is actually not bacon, 03:38 it's dairy products, cheese, and milk, and so forth; 03:41 and meat is number two. 03:43 In Chicago, some people ate relatively little saturated fat, 03:46 around 13 grams a day, 03:48 and others ate about twice that much, 03:50 and the researchers just looked at who developed Alzheimer's disease. 03:54 And can I show you the figures? 03:56 Here's the low group, and there is the high group. 03:58 In other words, if you are avoiding the bad fat, your risk was pretty low, 04:02 but if you were tucking into the cheese and the bacon strips, 04:05 your risk was two, three, or more-fold higher, 04:10 Then they looked not just at saturated fat, 04:12 they looked at the fat that's in doughnuts and pastries; 04:15 you know what that is, that's trans fats you'll see on the labels. 04:19 They found the very same pattern in there, too. 04:23 So, the people who tended to avoid the saturated fat and the trans fats, 04:28 wanted to avoid them for cholesterol and heart disease reasons, 04:32 but they also seem to affect the brain. 04:35 Then researchers in Finland said, "Wait a minute, let's go further." 04:39 There is a condition we call mild cognitive impairment. 04:43 You're still yourself - you're managing your checkbook, 04:46 you're driving, your friends know it's you - 04:48 but you're having mental lapses, especially for names and for words. 04:53 They brought in over 1,000 adults, they were 50 years old, 04:56 and they looked at their diets. 04:58 Then, as time went on, they looked to see 05:00 who developed mild cognitive impairment. 05:03 Some of these people ate relatively little fat, 05:06 some people ate a fair amount, 05:07 and then they looked at whose memory started to fail. 05:12 They found exactly the same pattern. 05:14 In other words, it's not just, "Will I get Alzheimer's disease?" 05:18 but, "Will I just have old age memory problems?" 05:23 Well, what about that gene, that APOE-[epsilon]4 allele

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