Author Jean Carper recommends apples to cut Alzheimer’s odds

Think that Alzheimer’s is a disease controlled only by genetics, that can’t be prevented? Think again, reports best-selling author Jean Carper in her book, “100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s.”

Apples are good food for thoughtIn her book, Carper lists consuming apple juice and apples as one of the 10 most surprising strategies she found for cutting the odds of developing Alzheimer’s. She writes: “Apple juice can push production of the ‘memory chemical’ acetylcholine; that’s the way the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts. He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces [of juice], or two to three apples a day.”

Carper wrote the book after discovering that she carries the major gene for Alzheimer’s. You can read more about the book, and the author’s accomplished health reporting career, on her website.

With a family history of Alzheimer’s that frankly terrifies me – I’ve already lost a granny and a great uncle to it – I watch the news on Alzheimer’s closely. Dr. Shea’s work on apples and Alzheimer’s, while preliminary because he’s studying animals at this stage, is exciting.

Keep in mind that, as our doctors and dietitians will tell us, we should take any new health news with a grain of salt and an eye on the big picture. Until a food’s health benefits are unequivocally proven in well-designed human feeding studies, we’re just guessing about what works. In the meantime, the prudent course is to eat a healthy, varied diet and exercise regularly. Of course, we hope you’ll include lots of apples in that diet!


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