Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is not a mysterious untreatable brain disease – it is a reversible, metabolic/toxic, usually systemic illness with a relatively large window for treatment” – Dr Dale Bredesen

 In 2014, researcher Dr Dale Bredesen published a paper that caught my attention. Using a comprehensive approach to assessment and treatment, he reported that the reversal of cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease was possible. I have been using this paper for inspiration and direction in my practice ever since. Then, in the summer of 2016, I decided to take it a step further by participating in a 3-day medical training in the Bredesen Protocol with a group of 60 healthcare practitioners from around the world. The training was inspirational and I am thrilled to bring the knowledge that I learned back to the Cowichan Valley. For an introduction to his approach, you may wish to watch the videos on his website. For a more comprehensive explanation, you can also watch this presentation to healthcare professionals that provides an overview of the science and recent case studies.

Key points about Alzheimer’s Disease based on Dr. Bredesen’s research:

  • no one should ever receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) without an investigation of the cause
    • there are several major sub-types of AD identified – with comprehensive testing we can identify your risk factors and work to address them
  • prevention and reversal of symptoms works better the earlier you start – don’t hide behind your fear and denial of memory loss – get assessed early, get the right program and jump in with both feet
  • a genetic predisposition to AD (particularly APOE4 status) is not a reason to give up hope – it’s a reason to be proactive
    • I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Gee, an APOE4 advocate and founder of this summer.  She shared her story of cognitive decline reversal, which is briefly described in this 2014 CNN article.
  • a successful program is going to address multiple risk factors at once – there is a powerful synergy that occurs when you have a comprehensive approach that shifts the balance towards brain building, rather than brain breakdown

The Bredesen Protocol (previously called the MEND protocol) is most successful for:

  • people with early signs of memory problems including SCI (subjective cognitive impairment), MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and early Alzheimer’s disease
  • people with a supportive healthcare team, including friends and family, that will encourage adherence to their new diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations
  • people who are motivated to commit seriously to a comprehensive plan, including reassessment of lab values and re-evaluation of the plan via follow-up visits

The approach:

1) A thorough review of your medical history, followed by comprehensive testing to determine the causes of your cognitive problems and to guide treatment priorities.

2) A multi-step treatment plan that includes:

    • diet changes – avoiding sugar, gluten and saturated fats; increasing fiber, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats; meal timing/fasting; possible ketosis (ketogenic diet)
    • exercise
    • sleep optimization – getting good quality, adequate sleep in a dark room, ruling out sleep apnea
    • stress management
    • multiple targeted supplements and medications – prescribed based on blood tests and medical history. These may include:
      • hormone optimization – thyroid, cortisol, insulin, estradiol, testosterone, vitamin D etc
      • vitamins and minerals in their ideal forms and amounts
      • herbal medicines that affect brain growth and inflammation
      • improving digestive health
      • treating infections in the gut, sinuses or mouth
      • detoxification

3) Repeated assessment, follow up and adjustments to the treatment plan.  It can take 3 – 12 months to to make a real difference in cognitive symptoms.  The bonus side effects of these treatments is that they can also benefit heart disease, diabetes and digestive issues.

Ready to learn more?  Call or book online for a free 15 minute information session to get more questions answered.

Ready to get started?  There are three options for getting started:

1) Work with me one-on-one – I’ll take your medical history, help you identify risk factors, request labwork and make comprehensive suggestions for your diet, lifestyle, supplement and medication regime.  Yes, I am able to prescribe most medications if necessary – most commonly diabetes, thyroid and bio-identical hormones prescriptions (though not testosterone). Please book an extended, 2-hour first visit and bring any testing from the last 2 years with you.  You also have the option of enrolling in my Brain Health Program which combines this work with separate appointments with holistic nutritionist and Red Seal chef, Christina Acevedo.

2) Enroll in Dr Bredesen’s ReCODE program.  By registering with Dr Bredesen’s team you receive a report that is generated using lab results, medical history and genetic information.  The ReCODE report gives a snapshot of your current status and sub-typing and helps to prioritize treatment strategies.  While I do work with this report, it is optional and you need to be aware that in Canada we are unable to do many of the tests required by this report to give a thorough analysis.   It is redone when you have new tests or information.  Enrolling in ReCODE still involves regular visits with me and requires a $75 USD per month, 1 year commitment fee paid to the Bredesen group.    There are some benefits to this membership – including a BrainHQ subscription, the ability to order Cytoplan supplements at wholesale prices, support forums and online “townhalls” with Dr Bredesen.  I have created a “Bredesen Package” for those enrolled in ReCODE that includes a first visit of 2 hours, ReCODE report generation and four-1 hour follow up visits and 2 consultations with a holistic nutritionist.  Please contact me for more information about details and pricing.  Enrollment for ReCode is optional and I suggest speaking to me before you decide to commit to it.

3) Workshops for dementia prevention.   I offer workshops in the Cowichan Valley for those who would like to dive into the assessment, diet, lifestyle, supplement and medication strategies you can use to prevent dementia.  We are taking a waitlist for the next one and details can be found here.

If you are interested in learning more about these options please email me.

I look forward to working with you.