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Age 24 and 4/4: Trying to Plan a Healthy (Student) Life

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 5:59 pm
by Rainbow
Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago, my 23AndMe results arrived. Guess what? I'm 4/4. My maternal grandmother has Alzheimer's and my mum is 3/4. I'm still processing the news and think about my results every day.

Thanks for this online community — these forums have been a huge form of support.

For the past nine months, I've been living in Ontario, Canada. In September, I'll move to California to start a PhD in physics. I love the outdoors and am really looking forward to the warmer weather!

I'm an active kind of person: I enjoy running, high-intensity interval workouts, yoga, ecstatic dance and hiking. My parents are health-conscious and I was raised pescatarian. However, I started eating meat in 2014. My maternal grandmother and my dad's sister both have celiac disease. I never had any trouble with gluten, but last year, after reading Kelly Brogan's book "A Mind of Your Own", I decided to go gluten-free. I also started reading David Perlmutter's blog posts. More recently, I've discovered the Bredesen protocol. I can't wait to find more books and resources about preventing cognitive decline.

I'm very skinny, but have some belly fat that I'd like to get rid of. I'm hoping to reduce my carbohydrate intake and work on my insulin sensitivity. My paternal grandfather has type 2 diabetes.

I've been thinking a lot about how to go about making adjustments to my lifestyle. I often find myself struggling with the social aspects of healthy living. For example, although I love the communal nature of shared housing, my friends can be a bad influence. I really want to work on my sleep hygiene and stop drinking alcohol, but when I get invited to someone's apartment for drinks and weed-smoking at 10 pm, I find it incredibly difficult to refuse. Sadly, I find it difficult despite knowing my 4/4 status. This worries me a lot: I know I can't afford to go through life so blasé about my bad habits.

I'm sure that if my friends knew what I was going through, then at least some of them would understand. However, I find the idea of sharing my 4/4 status with anyone outside my family (and this community) too stressful to deal with at the moment. Many of the people I live with are not particularly health-conscious, and I suspect that revealing my 4/4 status would go hand-in-hand with a fair amount of explaining. Lengthy conversations about my DNA, and Alzheimer's in general, just seem impossible right now. But it's definitely a goal that I'd like to work towards.

I'm an introvert, but need a sense of community to keep me going. Thanks again for these wonderful forums!

Re: Age 24 and 4/4: Trying to Plan a Healthy (Student) Life

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 12:07 pm
by hill dweller
Congrats on beginning your PhD in California! I have kids slightly older than you -- one was recently hooded and a second will defend and be hooded this summer! It's a journey, pace yourself.

One recently said, "I'm tired of listening to the special dietary needs of those around me (gluten-free, nut allergy, lactose intolerance, etc, etc). I'm just going to say that I don't eat carbs and be done with it." Good attitude.

I think you will find that your peers in Calif don't care what you do and don't eat and drink. Keep your integrity!

To quote Ryan Reynolds:

Welcome to California! It's crowded and expensive but the people are pretty great. :D

Re: Age 24 and 4/4: Trying to Plan a Healthy (Student) Life

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 6:09 pm
by Rainbow
Thanks for the message hill dweller! I'm super excited for the move.

Re: Age 24 and 4/4: Trying to Plan a Healthy (Student) Life

Posted: Fri May 04, 2018 2:29 am
by Karengo
Hello Rainbow: Thank you for joining our community. You're brave to go forward with 23&Me testing and your thoughts are most welcome here. I hear you're still processing your results and encourage you to be easy and give yourself plenty of time to adjust. It sounds like you've learned a lot about yourself and become aware of certain conditions in your family history. I understand you're wanting to take really good care of your health. You've been making some important lifestyle changes that you want to stick with during the course of your life which is awesome. As you'll learn from some of our community members, a lot of people wish they had found out sooner that they were 4/4. At the same time, I invite you to remember you are at a different life stage with a whole lot of living to do in the days to come. You're already making great changes. I want to encourage you to live a balanced life and trust you are doing your best while making the most of your life. Make time to keep enjoying yourself along the way!

Also I want to shout out a big "Congratulations!" to you on starting your PhD and moving to California. That's a big deal and really exciting news! Well done. I'm living in California too in the Bay Area. There are many people who are really focused on living healthy balanced lives. I have a strong feeling you're really going to enjoy living here.

Have you had a chance to check out the Primer yet? Also there's more information on Bredesen protocol Wiki-Bredsen here.

Feel free to make comments and share your insights with the community. We would love to hear more from you. Also don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have. And if you're looking for more on a particular topic you can use the magnifying glass icon on the top of the page beside your name or use the Wiki

Looking forward to "seeing" you around the site!

Re: Age 24 and 4/4: Trying to Plan a Healthy (Student) Life

Posted: Sun May 06, 2018 1:32 pm
by jordansmom
Welcome to the site! I know how hard this news is to bear; news of my status caused a lot of sleepless nights at first (not that I sleep all that well to begin with). The good news is that you've learned your status while you are very young and have lots of time to build up a lifetime what I call 'pro-brain habits', like healthy eating, daily exercise, and mental activity. Time is also on your side in that a treatment is likely to be found by the time you reach an age where you have to worry about developing AD. Plus, your choice of major and the years spent in grad school attaining your PhD will stand you in very good stead as time wears on. Physics is an excellent training ground for the brain, as I too can attest (BS & MS in physics). It seems like you have some good habits going already, aside from the late-night beers. I can certainly relate to the struggle to cut back, as I do love my wine. Ditto RE sleep; sleep troubles seem to be pretty common. The Apo E4 allele may be partly to blame, although a lot of people without the allele have issues also. Hard to know what the weed is doing WRT your AD risk; I've read some stuff online implying weed may be protective. Anyhow, cheers from a fellow physics grad, and I look forward to reading more of your posts. BTW, what area of physics are you thinking of doing your dissertation in?

Re: Age 24 and 4/4: Trying to Plan a Healthy (Student) Life

Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 8:30 pm
by Rainbow
Thanks for the posts Karengo and jordansmom! I really appreciate all the support.

Karengo, I'm busy working my way through the Primer. Thanks — it's been really useful so far.

Jordansmom, I'll probably do my dissertation in astrophysics. The specific topic will depend on my advisor, but it could be black hole accretion disks, cosmic rays or stellar evolution. I also find biophysics really interesting, especially because of the cool applications! If I had to switch subfields, then I'd go there in a flash.

Interesting what you mention about weed, and a pity that there doesn't seem to be consensus with respect to AD risk. I try to limit myself to special occasions, and prefer ingesting over smoking.