Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D. ischief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients. Dr. Crandall is author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter.

Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D.

Hardened Arteries Trigger Alzheimer's

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 04:53 PM

By Chauncey Crandall, M.D.

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One of the reasons Alzheimer’s disease is so terrifying is that scientists have yet to pinpoint exactly why some people get the disease and others do not. Yet as they delve deeper into the causes of both heart disease and Alzheimer’s, researchers are turning up evidence of common symptoms.
 
For instance, two decades ago a Kentucky medical examiner noted that the brains of people who had died from heart disease were more likely to have “plaques and tangles” characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. (“Plaques” refer to abnormal clumps of amyloid protein that occur between nerve cells; “tangles” are an accumulation of a different protein, called tau protein, inside of nerve cells.)
 
But why is this so? One of the major suspects appears to be atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), the disease process that causes coronary artery disease. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of the fatty plaque, which narrows the heart’s coronary arteries, impeding its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body, including the brain.
 
And the brain is a glutton for blood; in fact, it uses 20 to 25 percent of the blood the heart pumps. Therefore, any reduction in blood flow damages the brain, and can pave the way for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Studies have found that this shortage of oxygen activates a gene that is responsible for producing the harmful amyloid-beta plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. This process sets off a cascade of chemicals that kill brain cells and cause Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Because of this process, scientists are increasingly viewing Alzheimer’s as a vascular disease, similar to coronary artery disease or stroke.

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Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D., is chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic. Dr. Crandall, who received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, is author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter.
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