The Cure to Alzheimer’s Disease
By Dr. Jennifer Kaumeyer
I could write for days on this topic giving you information that you could probably just ‘google’. Instead, I decided to do my best to use this brief moment while I have your attention to get you thinking. A quick aside, as you read ahead, you could really put whatever name for whichever chronic disease you want in the place of Alzheimer’s. In other words, this information holds true for most all “dis-ease.”
First, let’s define Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. It is not a normal part of aging, yet aging is the biggest risk factor. However, 5% of the cases in America are early onset before the age of 65. It is a disease with a very insidious onset and worsens over time. It cannot be officially diagnosed until after death when a brain biopsy can be performed – however, the neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid proteins that were once thought to be distinctive to only Alzheimer’s, we now know is seen in general aging. There are currently no treatments for the disease only drugs to help the symptoms. There are many theories on what causes Alzheimer’s: Accelerated aging, Type III Diabetes (insulin resistance within the brain), Statin (cholesterol lowering medications) induced, infectious agent, mitochondrial dysfunction, heavy metal exposure, immune system dysfunction and genetics. Could they, in fact, all be contributing causes?
As it were, Alzheimer’s can be a very devastating disease to the patient and the patient’s family. It can be so devastating that often the children and grandchildren of the Alzheimer patient spend their lives worrying that they too will succumb to the disease. They are told it is genetic; yes, in fact it can and often does run in family lines. This creates a sense of helplessness. But we have more control than you think!
Yes, there is a genetic ‘correlation’. However, ‘correlation’ does not equal ‘causation.’ The cause seem to be more of an ‘epi-genetic’ nature. Most people, even doctors, are pretty clueless about epigenetics. In brief it means “above genetics”. It is the discovery that, despite the fact our DNA is set from birth, how it is expressed and not expressed is controlled by our environment. Yes that is right, our environment controls how our DNA is expressed. What we eat, what we breath, what we think, what we watch on TV, our hobbies, our ability and/or inability to love and forgive (the list goes on) ALL control our genetics! This enlightening discovery should bring hope to us all. Unfortunately, what I see with patients more times than not is that this knowledge brings a sense of hopelessness because most do not want to believe it. Firstly, most do not want to change, change brings a sense of overwhelming anxiety. Secondly, they do not want to believe that we are all creating our environment that is breeding devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s. They want to keep searching for a ‘quick fix’, a ‘cure’ if you will. The fix usually is not quick, and not easy, but the fix can be very simple and even the smallest changes can produce an overwhelmingly positive effect. Trust me, I see it every day! The real cure is in understanding the causes so that we can remove the obstacles and add the missing links. When we do just that, our health improves and as our health improves so do our genetics and the genetics of our children. This knowledge should bring you hope for ‘he who has hope has everything!”
A recent article out of UCLA was entitled “Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time… using ‘Systems Approach’ to memory disorder”. FIRST TIME? When I read this, all I could do was chuckle. And what is ‘Systems Approach’? That must be the politically correct term for ‘Holistic’. Now I’m down right ‘laughing out loud’! Seriously though, this is not new stuff; the Riordan Clinic , Naturopathic Doctors, Orthomolecular and Functional Medicine Doctors and even conventional doctors, before the era of pharmaceuticals, have all known this and been educating on this truth for decades. If you go look up some of Dr. Riordan’s Lunch and Lectures from years past, you will see that this is certainly not new. But for most of us in the “Holistic” or “Systems Approach” world, as you will, don’t need recognition. We just want to see change and I’m just happy to see the conventional field of “medicine” moving towards this ancient truth. Finally! Bredesen, a professor of neurology at ULCA, says the “approach is personalized to the patient, based on extensive testing to determine what is affecting the brain’s plasticity signaling network.” Again, exactly what we at the Riordan Clinic have preached for 40 years. One participant in this study saw great improvements with the following program:
• Eliminating all simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed food from her diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish
• Meditating twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
• Sleeping seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
• Taking melatonin, methylcobalamin (a form of B12), vitamin D3, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 each day
• Optimizing oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
• Reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
• Fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
• Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week
The real take home here is the fact that it is an individualized approach! And from the mouth of Bredesen, “It is noteworthy that the major side effects of this therapeutic system are improved health and an improved body mass index, a stark contrast to the side effects of many drugs.” The article then goes on to say how more cases need to be replicated in order to become ‘truth’ or ‘proven’. What they do not know (or they do but will not admit) is this has been replicated time and time again in people all over the world. They just were not a part of university organized medical trials. No one knows what causes Alzheimer’s, just like no one knows what causes Cancer, Autoimmunity, Diabetes, Autism, Fibromyalgia, IBS, etc.; or do we know but choose not to believe it? We won’t accept the cause until ‘Science’ proves it, right? I often ask my patients “Do you really want to wait that long? If so, you could be waiting many lifetimes.” A wise old college professor once told me “Jennifer, you cannot prove the obvious”, kind of similar to the fact that you can’t define ‘THE’, it is what it is. What I want you to question is why is a therapy, which only produces beneficial side effects, not taken on as a standard therapy? Why must they try to ‘prove’ the obvious? How could science ever prove individualized therapies if the “double blind placebo” models only work on the assumption that we are all alike? Why are the therapies with harsh side effects accepted before those that only produce beneficial results? Is it because it’s too time consuming for us, and doctors, to teach or, do they think we are all just lazy, or do they actually think they will eventually find the ‘quick fix’? I’ll let you decide.
My biggest hope is that, if you got anything out of this very short article, if even for a brief moment, that you had a shift in how you think and view the world. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If we are all thinking alike, then no one is thinking.” I encourage you all to keep an open mind and never stop learning.