Following is the full transcript of nutrition researcher and best-selling author Neal Barnard’s TEDx Talk: Power Foods for the Brain at TEDxBismarck conference. This event occurred on August 11, 2016.
You can also listen to the MP3 audio while reading the transcript: Power Foods for the Brain by Neal Barnard at TEDxBismarck
Neal Barnard – President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Thank you for joining me.
On February, 8, 2012, my father passed away. And the truth is that was the day his heart stopped beating. For all intents and purposes, my father had died years earlier. It started with memory lapses, and as time went on, his memory failed more and more, and it got to the point where he didn’t know his own kids who came in to see him.
His personality changed, and his ability to take care of himself was completely gone. And if you could make a list of all the things that could ever happen to you, the very last thing on your list, at the very bottom of the list, the thing you want the least is Alzheimer’s disease, because when you lose your memory, you lose everything. You lose everyone who ever mattered to you.
And if you could look into the brain of a person who has got this disease, what you see is, between the brain cells are these unusual looking structures. Beta-amyloid protein comes out of the cells, and it accumulates in these little sort of meatball-like structures that are in front of you, on a microscopic slide. And they shouldn’t be there, and they are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. And this disease affects about half of Americans by their mid 80s.
And you could say to your doctor, “OK, I don’t want that. What can I do to stop that?” And your doctor will say, “Well, it’s old age and it’s genetics.” There’s a gene – it’s called the APOE-epsilon4 allele. And if you’ve got this gene from one parent, your risk is tripled. If you got it from both parents, your risk is 10 to 15 times higher than it was before.