Seniors needed for BCHD study on Alzheimer’s and the  environment

From left: Participating in a study on Alzheimer’s and the environment are BCHD chief medical advisor William Kim, BCHD director of lifespan services Kerianne Lawson, Loma Linda University physicians  Dr. Ayesha Sherazi, Dr. Dean Sherazi, BCHD CEO Tom Bakalay, and BCHD community services director Melissa Andrizzi-Sobel. Photo courtesy Beach Cities Health District.



The authors of “The Alzheimer’s Solution,” a 2017 book that examines links between lifestyle and dementia, will oversee a Beach Cities Health District study on how to prevent Alzheimer’s.

The district is seeking 1,700 beach city residents to participate in the study. The residents must be over 65 and not currently suffering from dementia. The study will last for three years.

An informational “Brain Health” meeting, hosted by the Hermosa Beach seniors group 5-0 will be held tonight, Thursday, July 19, at the Hermosa Beach Community Center.

Doctors Ayesha and Dean Sherazi, the doctors overseeing the study and authors of “The Alzheimer’s Solution,” practice a Loma Linda University Medical Center.

“While it may be easier to blame a devastating disease like Alzheimer’s on a single gene, this false belief is killing millions,” the authors wrote.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the nation’s most expensive disease, with annual treatments estimated at $240 billion. As nation’s population ages, costs could rise to $1 trillion per year by 2050.

Kerianne Lawson, the district’s director of lifespan services, said the study is unique.

“It’s the first we know of where we’re really looking at geography and the environment. Are the environment and environmental attributes a part of cognitive health? A lot of the testing is done around the effectiveness of medications on people who already have the disease. We’re looking at whether changes in healthy behavior, in a healthy environment, can prevent the disease,” Lawson said.

The district already has some ideas about ways to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s. Many of their recommendations, such as exercise and plant-based diets, are derived from the health districts Blue Zones project.

Although Alzheimer’s overwhelmingly strikes people over 85, the study and the brain health initiative do have lessons for younger South Bay residents, Lawson said. She noted that even in people who do develop Alzheimer’s, habits developed as early as one’s 20s, like reducing alcohol use and staying engaged in work, can delay its onset.

People who are experiencing this are usually put in a memory care living community. “Damage to the brain is cumulative,” she said. “What happens over time will eventually start to add up,”  Lawson said. 


comments so far. Comments posted to may be reprinted in the Easy Reader print edition, which is published each Thursday.