Research shows an Adventist lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
It seemed to be by chance at a party in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003 that two young medics met and formed a connection over the loss of grandparents to dementia. For doctors Dean Sherzai and Ayesha Sherzai, this bond would shape the next 17 years of their lives as spouses, neurologists, and researchers in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Today, as co-directors of the Brain Health and Alzheimer’s prevention program at Loma Linda University Health in Loma Linda, California, United States, the duo has helped thousands of patients — ranging from the partially cognitively impaired to those suffering from Alzheimer’s — find hope through personal lifestyle intervention. Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and now affects some 5.8 million Americans each year.
“When you look at the numbers and realize that every 64 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s, you have to ask yourself, Can this be avoided?” Dean says. “The answer is yes. In fact, we have found that more than 90 percent of cases can be prevented, and it starts with how we take care of ourselves.”
At Loma Linda University Health, the couple has created the NEURO plan, a lifestyle-focused approach to preventing Alzheimer’s, and authored the best-selling book “The Alzheimer’s Solution” to share their research with the world.
“There isn’t one drug, vitamin, food, or single exercise that will prevent Alzheimer’s,” Dean says. “We use the NEURO approach with our patients because it’s a comprehensive plan that improves multiples facets that affect our brain health.”
Dean began his journey against Alzheimer’s one day in 1979 when his grandfather — a former secretary of state for education — forgot how to move a knight while playing chess with him. For Ayesha, her journey would begin one day in Kabul, where her grandfather — a former prime minister of Afghanistan — forgot her name.