Is It Possible to Prevent Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s – Part I
My mother-in-law was a sweetheart. There was little she wouldn’t do for her son, me, and our daughter (her only granddaughter). It was painful, therefore, for us to watch as she changed from a loving, caring person to a woman who couldn’t remember whether we had just arrived to visit or were on our way out the door. Slowly she transitioned to a woman who had no idea who we were to her final pre-death destination curled up in a ball in a nursing home bed. Alzheimer’s took her away long before she stopped breathing.
This shouldn’t have to be. And it often doesn’t have to be once we have an idea of how we might head Alzheimer’s off at the pass. Once Alzheimer’s has a serious foothold modern medicine can’t help, at least not so far. But some experts in neurodegenerative diseases tell us that it is often possible to bring a person back from the decline and provide success stories to prove it. These experts recognize that dementia isn’t just one thing (like amyloid plaque) to target with a drug, which is why drugs have failed. A variety of life factors have contributed to the decline and they all need attention.
However, it is not easy. When you learn of the extraordinary efforts required to achieve those successes you will be certain that heading Alzheimer’s off at the pass is a far better idea. Perhaps there is history in your family that makes you concerned about yourself, or your children. Maybe you already have memory issues that worry you. This series intends to help you know how to avoid what may seem inevitable.
This article is the first in a series that will ultimately be one chapter of my next book, Your Personal Health Fix, Start from Where You Are. For sure Alzheimer’s is the one condition that we all fear and want to avoid at all cost. So let’s take a look at dementia.
Dementia is when your brain stops working as designed. Slowly but surely progression from “mild cognitive impairment” to a complete loss of the mind is considered inevitable by most of the medical community. The form of dementia (Alzheimer’s represents the vast majority) may define how the cognitive impairment presents itself and which parts of the brain are first impacted, but in the end, full blown dementia is when your brain stops working as designed. You simply lose your mind.
With a few genetic exceptions, dementia is a condition of age and the result of a lot of contributing factors. The older we get the greater our chance of dementia but brain deterioration actually begins very early. And while our brain (and in fact our whole body) has amazing ability to compensate, compensation doesn’t last forever. So it is of critical importance to understand and avoid the contributing factors.
The Brain Basics
The brain is broken up into six different sections and each section has specific roles. Via brain cells (neurons) information moves back and forth from one section to another and to/from the rest of the body through the nervous system. The brain is the central software control center assessing conditions in the body and providing instructions to the organs of the body.
Every organ in the body (be it heart, intestines, pancreas, liver, etc.) communicates with the brain, sending signals and receiving instructions. To the largest degree all that goes on electronically just as it does in a computer.
For example, the production of thyroid hormones is the result of an instruction from the brain. Based on a signal from fat cells, the brain tells the stomach that you are full. Based on a signal from your gut, the brain tells you that you are hungry (you know how that feels). You may think that the pain attached to a finger cut is coming from your finger but it isn’t. The brain got the signal and created the pain.
The neurons pass information one to another electronically. The energy required for that to happen is also created electronically in each cell the same way that energy is created in the heart or any other body part. That tiny little brain is an energy hog, using about 20 % of the energy made in your entire body. Deficiency in that energy production seems to be the beginning of brain deterioration.
In Part 2 we will examine the failed history of Alzheimer’s treatment and begin discussion of what cause the deterioration of neurons. Lots of ways to mess things up and we seem to have found them all.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. All proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/. Telephone number 870-490-1836, email firstname.lastname@example.org