Prevent and Reverse Alzheimer's

Are You Just Forgetful or Is It Alzheimer’s?   

                                                                                          By Dr. Maria Maricich


Alzheimer’s Disease is on the rise and is now the third leading cause of death in America. Women are twice as likely as men to develop it. In fact, a woman in her 60s has a one in six chance of getting Alzheimer’s, while she has a one in 11 chance of getting breast cancer. If this disease continues to rise in incidence at its current rate, it could cripple the economy.

Alzheimer’s, like all degenerative diseases, begins many many years before there are any diagnosable signs. Usually it has been developing for 30 or 40 years before there is a diagnosis. It is thought to be one of the only diseases that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

That all sounds like awful news, but new research1 shows that Alzheimer’s Disease, Cognitive Decline and Dementia are preventable and often curable, especially if caught in the earlier stages.  A study done jointly with UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, is the first to suggest that memory loss in patients may be reversed, and improvement sustained, using a complex, 36-point therapeutic program. The therapy provided to participants would come under the classification of Functional Medicine and is quite a different approach than traditional medicine, though it uses some of the same types of testing.

Functional Medicine is a “systems” approach recognizing that all parts of the human are affected by all other parts. In other words, we can’t look just at the brain, we must look at all the systems. Dr. Dale Bredesen, the head of the research study, indicates there are six different types of Alzheimer’s, and that most patients have more than one type. Each type may have many factors needing to be addressed. The reason medicine has been unsuccessful, he says, is because they are only patching one hole in a ceiling with say, 36 holes.

This multi-faceted Functional Medicine approach to reversing and preventing cognitive decline includes comprehensive lab tests to look at the multitude of factors that can cause neurological degeneration. Then,  the best protocol to reverse the problem areas is applied, usually including diet changes, nutraceuticals (supplements prescribed by doctors) or natural therapies. The brain also would be assessed for areas of weakness and exercises tailored to the specific needs of the individual would be implemented. No one patient is the same as the next.

Genetics do appear to play a role in Alzheimer’s Disease. The ApoE4 gene is most commonly associated with the disease, however a person without the gene can Alzheimer’s and vice versa.

Dr. Bredesen believes that everybody over the age of 40 should have a “cognoscopy” by a properly trained Functional Medicine doctor, as most medical doctors and neurologists are not yet aware of this approach. If a person has any of the below symptoms, they absolutely should seek appropriate care, but we suggest not waiting for symptoms to appear before you consider an evaluation. 

A Cognoscopy is done in our office and includes a comprehensive history of trauma, toxic exposure, diet, signs and symptoms. The client will fill out a questionnaires to guide the doctor in determining what risk factors are present. We perform some simple non invasive neurological tests that show if areas of the brain are becoming weak. Blood work will be ordered based on determinations of this initial evaluation. Finally, you will meet with the doctor to determine the most effective course of action to heal (or keep healthy) the brain. Most people are surprised at what we find and excited to have tools to apply right away.

The 7 Early Signs of Dementia and Alzheimer’s:

  1. General fatigue
  2. Constipation or digestion issues
  3. Apathy, depression or withdrawal
  4. Change in personality
  5. Memory loss
  6. Difficulty with learning or concentration
  7. Confusion

Dr. Bredesen has authored a book named The End of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Maria is trained in the Bredesen protocol through the Institute for Functional Medicine.