Survivors of Alzheimer’s Dementia
“Everyone knows a cancer survivor but no one knows an Alzheimer’s survivor”
– Dr Dale Bredesen
Alzheimer’s patients on the Bredesen Protocol have been able to find their keys, remember their passwords, give driving directions to their husbands or wives, recognise their grandchildren and even remember foreign languages that they spoke as a child again.
It is not only a miracle for millions of people with Alzheimer’s dementia but also more than double the number of carers that are heartbroken as they watch their loved ones fade away.
Bredesen trained practitioners are using the principles of nutrition, lifestyle and functional medicine to prevent and even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia.
It is done by addressing underlying causes of the disease using system based personalized approaches and building therapeutic relationships between both the patient and the practitioner.
Don’t look at a person’s symptoms and prescribe medication
– it’s better to ask –
- Why does the person have this issue in the first place?
- What is irritating them?
- Is your life too stressful?
- Is your diet poor?
- Do you have or had toxin exposure?
- Do you sleep well?
- Do you have a gut infection?
- What factors are contributing to your inflammation?
- Is your blood glucose too high or do you have insulin resistance?
- Do you have nutritional deficiencies?
- Are lack of hormones contributing to brain health?
The biggest ‘trick’ with Alzheimer’s disease is the need to intervene on many if not all of these things in order to turn the disease around.
The other critical thing is to intervene as early as possible, so that’s even before the first noticeable symptoms. This can be screened for with more or less sensitive cognitive assessments and pathology testing to find pre-symptomatic issues – Dr Bredesen calls this a ‘cognoscopy’ much the same way you would do colonoscopy when you turn over 50 to check for bowel cancer.
Dr Bredesen says you need to use as many of the diet and lifestyle changes as possible for at least 3 to 6 months in order to expect results. You also need to determine the major triggers or causes and ensure that these are addressed. Drugs will often rely on a single biochemical pathway and this is why there has never been a drug that has been successful in treating Alzheimer’s dementia. Dr Bredesen uses over 36 interventions to achieve unprecedented improvements.
MoCA – Montreal Cognitive Assessment
This is the test that Dr Bredesen and we use in clinic to give a basic measure of how your brain is currently functioning. It is also best not to read or look at the test before hand as this can also change the accuracy of the results.
You can ask your doctor or psychologist if they know about this basic cognitive assessment and if so ask them to run through this assessment with you. It is best to have someone more familiar with the test to do it with you as this makes the test more consistent and accurate.
Note this is a less sensitive screen but it also only takes about 15 mins. More comprehensive testing can be done and is very accurate and sensitive, so in many ways fantastic, but takes 2 or more hours and you need a professional clinical psychologist or neuro-psychologist for this. So the MoCA is a great initial basic gauge.
We have recently been able to have exclusive access to a special assessment battery developed by Professor Ralph Martins team, one of Australia’s leading Alzheimer’s researcher’s, for our personal clinical use. This assessment is more extensive, but not crazy long and needs to be carried out by a clinical psychologist or neuro-psychologist.
The benefit of using this sort of assessment is that it gives us the earliest possible indications that the brain is not functioning as well as it should – this also means we can intervene at the earliest possible signs of trouble and this is when the highest success can be achieved.