There are various forms of dementia. However, the most common type of dementia is that caused by a specific disease called Alzheimer’s Disease, or AD. Those who start to lose cognitive abilities (which your doctor can arrange to be tested) will generally be given a scan of the brain to determine the cause. The scan will show in great detail the nerve cells (called neurons), the connections between them, and the space between them.
In AD, two distinct objects can be seen in the scan. First, there are tiny lumps of a protein called “Amyloid” in the spaces between the nerve cells, and second, there are twisted strings of protein (called “tau” protein) inside the nerve cells themselves. Once these objects have been detected, there is absolutely no doubt that the cause of the dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease.
Conventional medical opinion makes some general recommendations for avoiding AD, but states that once you get it, it’s not curable and not even stoppable.
That may not be a valid assumption, and we’ll get around to that. But meantime here’s what most health authorities do say are important to reduce the odds of getting Alzheimer’s.
From the Harvard Medical School: Regular exercise, eat a Mediterranean diet, and get enough sleep.
From the UK National Health Service: stopping smoking, keeping alcohol to a minimum, eating a healthy, balanced diet, regular brisk exercise, regular check of blood pressure.
From the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK: Regular physical exercise, keeping to a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking only in moderation. (Risk factors include: diabetes, stroke, heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and depression)
A different view of Alzheimer’s Disease
If you do get diagnosed with AD, conventional medicine says you can do nothing to slow its progress, so you’ll be prescribed some drugs to reduce the amyloid protein in the brain, and thus lessen the symptoms, in particular of memory loss. Sadly, these drugs can have some unpleasant side effects and will not slow the progression of the disease.
However, an eminent US professor, Dr Dale Bredesen, has a different view of AD. He views the amyloid deposits in the brain as a consequence of the brain defending itself from attack from more than 30 different sources. His theory is that because the brain’s defense mechanisms overload, they start generating the amyloid in excessive quantities. So he says that the key to slowing and even reversing AD is to find out what is attacking the brain, and stop that happening, rather than just trying to deal with the amyloid.
For someone with early stage AD, he recommends going through extensive testing to uncover these problem areas, and then to deal with all the factors that are sub-optimal.
As an example, one possible form of attack is from mercury poisoning, arising either from dental amalgam fillings, or from diet, particularly tuna. So, in this case, the test is for mercury in the body. If it’s excessive, then it can be removed. If it originated from dental work, then the fillings can be removed (with great care). If from diet, then mercury sources must be avoided, like tuna.
That’s just one factor.
In his book, he reports on trials where there has been clear success from following his advice on testing and follow-up actions.
So, what are the implications if you haven’t got any cognitive impairment so far but want to do what you can to prevent it happening? And don’t forget that cognitive impairment starts with just one too many ‘senior moments’.
He recommends getting tested first, but in the absence of test results, his advice is as follows:
• Take care in the choice of foods in your diet,
• Avoid toxins,
• Get enough nutrients and hormones,
• Take regular exercise,
• Avoid inflammation.
He classifies foods as Good, OK, or best to minimize or avoid:
• Good includes eggs, and most vegetables, tea, salmon, avocado.
• OK includes potatoes, coffee, squash, chicken, grass-fed beef.
• But minimize sugar, bread, rice, pasta, gluten, tuna, dairy, alcohol, and high GI foods.
He suggests useful supplements including: Omega 3, Turmeric, Coconut Oil.
Toxins you should try to avoid include: Antibiotics, Statins, Aspirin, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Pesticides, Mold, Mercury.
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Harvard Medical School: https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease
Alzheimer’s Society: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia/alzheimers-disease