ARE THERE BETTER TREATMENTS FOR ALZHEIMERS PATIENTS?

Puzzled male shrugging wearing lab coat

The more physicians are willing to open their trained minds to new available information the closer we get to understanding the changing dynamics of diseases. We physicians experience the same defensive posturing as the lay person when it comes to acknowledging the need to change our beliefs and our behaviors. We have been taught to follow protocols accepted by the profession and to abide by treatment guidelines resulting from these protocols. This model of care continues in present times.

BUT IS IT WORKING?

Has the medical field consistently found solutions for the diseases they diagnose and treat? They work diligently with the pharmaceutical industry attempting to discover new drugs to improve the quality of their patient’s lives. For Alzheimer’s patients, Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne and Namenda are the most popular drugs prescribed. These drugs work to prevent the breakdown of chemical messengers in the brain affecting cognition. Are we winning the war on Alzheimer’s Disease? For that matter, are we winning the war on cancer, diabetes, strokes, depression or obesity by using the same medical protocols and treatment guidelines we’ve used over the last 100 years?

NO!

Our view of “DISEASE” is too simplified. We try to discover “THE CURE” through research and hope a “one size fits all answer” can be found. The complexity of the human body makes this an impossible task. Instead, we should look to modify exposure to lifestyle choices that break down the body’s physical ability to protect us from disease. We are learning these lifestyle choices are contributing in a large way to the various health imbalances we develop including those we “officially name” Alzheimers, Cancer, Diabetes, Stroke, Depression and Obesity.) From the medical perspective, these diseases are distinct and treated separately.

We continue to take our pills:

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to “medically treat” our diseases.

Alzheimer’s continues to devastate nearly 15% of the U.S. population. As physicians, we must open our minds and begin expanding our understanding of the disease process rather than following outdated protocols used to reduce the symptoms of this disease. This means we can no longer match a pill to a diagnosis and walk away claiming to have done our job. With Alzheimers, we must seek the various factors associated with the degenerative brain and create customized plans that prevent advancement and ultimately reverse the pathways causing the disease.

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The traditional approach would prescribe one of the four pills listed earlier in this article after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. This reinforces the “POWER OF THE PILL” and minimizes the important role the patient plays in their own recovery. The patient is never provided instructions about activities of daily living that can act to advance or inhibit the disease.  The doctor monitors a degenerating patient without significantly improving his or her quality of life (in most cases.) The caregiver is usually informed “nothing else can be done.”

THIS IS FACTUALLY INCORRECT.

Dr. Dale E. Bredesen, MD has developed protocols that have objectively and quantifiably proven the reversal of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s patients. He has achieved these successes by incorporating protocols for addressing various factors resulting in cognitive impairment. One of the most important factors that inevitably shows up in Alzheimer’s patients (as well as most diseases {conditions}) is:

INFLAMMATION

Normal_vs_Alzheimers_BrainWe have learned that plaquing (beta-amyloid) in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease IS THE RESULT OF THE BODY’S PROTECTIVE MECHANISM rather than the cause of this disease. It is part of the inflammatory response. It is NOT just the accumulation of damaging substances found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients interfering with brain function.  What are the factors that lead to this inflammatory response? Some of these include metal toxicities, gastrointestinal health, hormonal imbalances, sleep deprivation and infections. Dr. Bredesen reclassifies Alzheimer’s as a Metabolic Disorder rather than a Disease. By Incorporating diet, exercise, stress reduction, sleep, hormonal optimization, nutrient rebalancing, targeted herbs, brain stimulation and finally pharmaceutical utilization, the progression of this condition CAN BE ALTERED.

If our doctors used these parameters to evaluate our health during a physical examination, do you think that cardiac disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression and every other NAMED “DISEASE” would be impacted? Of course it would. We would FINALLY be looking at the factors addressing the ROOT CAUSES of health imbalances giving the patient a fighting chance to restore good health to their bodies. Doesn’t this sound better than watching our health and quality of life gradually diminish under the “supervision” of our licensed doctors?

Doctors, like patients, resist change. If we are going to improve the health of our nation, it is going to require a willingness from both participants. My goal is to simplify technical explanations about health problems to create better awareness for the average person. I also aim to unify our professional health care providers to work together to provide a higher standard and quality of care. This article reveals a “new truth” regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. I hope it provides new hope and encouragement to families suffering the current consequences of this CONDITION and the motivation to discuss these new approaches to managing it with your doctors. We can no longer accept our physicians telling us:

THERE IS NOTHING ELSE WE CAN DO!

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24 comments

  1. Althought you provided an alarming statistic (15%), this post makes me feel better. Alzheimers is something that frightens me. It bothers me to think one day I may not recognize my daughter. I have always tried to read, write, and exercise the mind in hopes of fighting off this disease. If diet and exercise helps, well, hopefully I am doing everything I can to avoid this dreaded disease.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wrote this article because most people are unaware that lifestyle plays a role in neuro-degenerative conditions. They are also unaware that GOOD medical treatment is available beyond the pharmaceutical option that has proven unsuccessful (by itself.) Finding a doctor willing to evaluate and treat the WHOLE PERSON instead of focusing on “plaque particles” in the brain has proven to IMPROVE cognitive function and has helped countless people return to living their complicated busy lifestyles. People need to understand that pharmaceutical drugs are a tool that addresses a “component” and needs to be utilized in this capacity. It is not (and never will be) the entire answer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Understood. I am grateful you posted it, cause I was under the belief there was nothing I could do. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is common for the average person to believe that Alzheimer’s Disease is a byproduct of “bad luck” with limited benefits offered by the medical community (in the form of a prescription drug.) There is very little information found in every day reading or viewing that expresses a “Functional” approach to this condition and the benefits it offers. If the reader remembers nothing more than “there is a good approach to helping patients especially with early onset, this article has met its goal. People must be made aware of REAL TREATMENTS and the benefits they offer to improving the quality of life.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Healthy Not Nuts · · Reply

    I like to read this type of article so that I can keep these ideas in the back of my mind for myself and my family. Thank you, I definitely got something out of this post that will most likely stick with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started my blog to provide information to the public to help inform them about a side of health rarely revealed in standard reading and viewing material. I have NO INTENTION to tell people the “right” course to follow. I simply want people as informed as possible to make the best decisions for themselves. As a doctor speaking for and against health care policies I offer unbiased credible information obtained mostly from independent sources with no “skin in the game.” I believe solutions often involve better communication and the ability to understand all the “player’s needs in the game.” I am critical in some presentations, but fair and REALISTIC in problem solving.

      I always welcome additional views (both supportive and opposed) to generate new thinking and new ideas. Your contribution will continue to add great value to this site. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Healthy Not Nuts · · Reply

        Yes, understood. I don’t go one way or the other too far, everything in moderation ~ which applies for my healthcare as well. Better to have more ideas to consider than less.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My father-in-law suffered from this disease. My mom, at 83, has altered thinking, but nothing like FIL experienced. I wonder sometimes about her overall health. She suffers horribly from a messed up digestive system (brought on by ingesting diabetes meds for too long???), and I have often wondered if she isn’t nutritionally depleted to the point that her brain cannot function properly. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nutritional imbalances can easily lead to digestive (microbiome) imbalances that has a direct relationship to cognitive function. I certainly don’t know if this is the case with your mother, but the circumstances preceding her current presentation are consistent with these underlying causes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I keep telling her, “See a dietician, mom!” She doesn’t listen. Typical mother/daughter stuff. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My father began to listen to my nutrition recommendations when I explained they were not designed to lengthen his life expectancy, but rather to minimize the risk of ongoing damage that would make it impossible to remain independent. I asked him if frequent poor food choices was worth giving up his lifestyle and his condominium for a nursing facility to take care of his essential needs? I think this reality helped focus his attention on the bigger picture. There are times where diplomacy and hard core reality converge and provide an honest vision to the recipient. This was one of those moments with my family.

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  5. sent to my Facebook page….xxxxxxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Kat.

    Like

  7. You offer a lot of very pertinent points/information but I prefer to read shorter articles – I think most do if we are honest. Is it possible to put a summary paragraph at the top so that we can choose if we need to read on? Thanks for your concern, research and dissemination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is refreshing to have constructive criticism thrown my way. I think your suggestion for a summary paragraph makes a lot of sense. I appreciate you offering this suggestion. Understanding the reader’s needs (and respecting their time allowance for reading an article) is just as important as providing information. Thank you again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As you know this subject is of personal interest to me and I really appreciate the information you share in this post. My dad has been on Namenda like forever it seems and I honestly can’t say whether it’s done any good at all.

    I did not know that about the plaques being a result of the inflammation but it sure makes a lot of sense. What in the heck causes that in the first place is the big question. You’re right that diet and nutrition must be playing a role. Caring for loved ones with dementia as I know you know, is just horrible. Demographics and longer life spans will bring it to epidemic levels and we need better treatments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many factors that allow the body to become susceptible to disease and dysfunction. We are in control of some of the most important factors, but many do not realize the essential roles we play in the disease process. Naturally there are factors outside our controls as well (such as genetics and environmental,) but as more people begin to recognize the need to follow a healthier approach to life, diseases (in general) will be greatly impacted.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The technical paper is surprisingly accessible, in terms of both availability for free reading online and understandability by nonspecialists. Thanks for calling attention to it.

    While Dr B’s clinical experience with 9 of the 10 patients clearly justifies a large study with effort to prevent distortion by wishful thinking, it is hard to see how a double-blind trial could be designed. Sadly, some people are so devoted to DBT-s that they remind me of the joke about a guy looking for his dropped key at night under a street light, well away from where he dropped it. (“The light is better here.”) Maybe the entrenched bias in favor of taking 1 or 2 drugs is reinforced by misguided insistence on DBT-s. Dunno how to approximate the virtues of a DBT for something like Dr B’s protocol. Does anybody have any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a clinician, I used to mandate quality research before implementing treatment protocols. With experience, I came to realize the double blind studies were much more relevant to me than my patients. Even if a placebo creates clinical change in awareness and or function is there no value in its utilization. We currently know the pharmaceutical drugs are minimally beneficial at best addressing cognitive impairment. If a functional protocol demonstrates improved performance based on a person returning to work or safely driving a vehicle, I am no longer concerned about the science before implementing the treatment plan. It becomes sciences responsibility to explain the “WHY” it works, not the patient’s responsibility. I no longer believe in delaying protocols that potentially offer greater function and control for an individual suffering cognitive impairment because science hasn’t quite figured the best design for the study. How many years was aspirin used without fully understanding how it worked.
      “Bayer launched acetylsalicylic acid as a commercial drug in 1899 under the name Aspirin. People knew from experience that aspirin worked, but lacked scientific knowledge about how it worked and why it worked. The New York Times Magazine called it in 1966: “The wonder drug nobody understands.” (Reference Source: Mann and Plummer, Aspirin Wars, p. 273.)

      If there is hope for a better quality of life (without potential harm to the patient) and alternative options provide little if any hope, I believe it makes sense to follow this path. There is a good chance the politics of business will interfere with the research design and skew the results anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. […] my blog posted on April 12, 2016? You see, I wrote the following paragraph IN MY POST entitled, ARE THERE BETTER TREATMENTS FOR ALZHEIMER’S PATIENTS? before this study was ever […]

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  11. […] Are There Better Treatments For Alzheimer’s Patients […]

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My husband has Alzheimer’s and it is a different journey from the one we prepared for in our lives.
    We have had 53 years of a great life, good and bad, and we will continue as far as we can. Your work is greatly appreciated and we pray that a cause and cure will be found soon.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a blessing to have had the opportunity to experience 53 years of life in a relationship with a person that means the world to you. Although the journey has taken an unforeseen turn, the commitment the two you share will provide the strength and courage necessary to see it through. It is certainly a difficult condition (disease,) but caring doctors willing to set aside profit in exchange for qualitative treatments will find alternative approaches to help people overcome the factors that contribute to this difficult condition. Your willingness to share your situation shows the character you possess. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family for the best quality of life possible. Answers are slow, but persistence will uncover new truths to help resolve this difficult diagnosis.

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  13. […] via ARE THERE BETTER TREATMENTS FOR ALZHEIMERS PATIENTS? — All About Healthy Choices […]

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