Most people are not aware that there is presently a worldwide epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias. The Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School, report on June 10, 2007: "Currently, 26.6 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease and that number could grow to more than 100 million people by 2050, a new analysis shows." Ron Brookmeyer, a professor of biostatistics and chairman of the Master of Public Health Program at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said: "A global epidemic of Alzheimer's disease is coming…"
What is causing this epidemic?
The Canadian National Advisory Council on Aging Reports: "The risk of developing Alzheimer's is higher if you have…worked in a job that has exposed you to glue, pesticides and fertilizers." Thus we see a connection between pesticide exposure and Alzheimer's disease. The worst disease symptoms will obviously occur in those exposed to high and constant levels of pesticide. But it would be naïve to think that those of us exposed to lower levels are safe and unaffected, as pesticides are inherently toxic. Moreover, they will combine in the body with the plethora of other toxins we're exposed to over a lifetime, including potentially injurious natural body chemicals such as cortisol, produced in dangerous amounts during sustained physical or emotional stress.
Accordingly, it is especially important for elderly and aging persons to avoid 1.) a polluted physical or "external" environment (for example, re-locate to a pristine city and neighborhood), 2.) a polluted internal bodily environment (for example, consume only organic food), and 3.) sustained emotional stress (for example, learn to love yourself and others, while utilizing rejuvenation techniques such as meditation and yoga).
Alzheimer's Caused by Pesticides
I believe that many maladies, Alzheimer's disease in particular, are caused by exposure to chemicals, especially pesticides, because 1.) pesticides, unbeknownst to most people, are almost ubiquitously present in our indoor, and outdoor, environments. For example, eat at almost any restaurant and you are being exposed to pesticides, or stroll down any suburban sidewalk in America where lawn after lawn after lawn sports a small Pesticide Treated Area placard residing atop a thin green stick, and you are likely being exposed to pesticides, 2.) most pesticides are toxic, sometimes extremely so, and 3.) the human body did not evolve to contain or process pesticides; they were never present in the environment of our stone-age ancestors.
I believe that everyone is at risk from exposure to pesticides and other chemicals in the environment, not just persons working with these agents.
One of the methods of pesticide toxicity may even come when pesticides accumulate in the fat cells and other parts of the body and are then released later, through exercise or other activity.
Medical research has, for some time, clearly prescribed increased oxygen to the brain as a non-toxic and powerful component of brain health.
Specifically, of all prescriptions for brain health, whether maintenance or regeneration, one of, if not the most, important is oxygen. The brain must be properly oxygenated, meaning it must always have an amount of oxygen adequate to supply it in its various component parts and in its sum. Certain foods, supplements, or pharmaceuticals purport to accomplish this, but arguably the most effective method, and that characteristic of our evolution and existence as a species over the millenia, is regular brisk movement of the body, known today as "aerobic" exercise.
It is thus critical that you get your loved one suffering Alzheimer's or dementia moving. No death sentence is as certain as that assigned to a loved one who spends their days doing little besides peacefully looking out of their window, no matter how peaceful and pleasurable they may find this activity.
Since my father began to suffer his cognitive decline around 2001, I have immersed myself in the world of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and human health, especially brain health. I've become acquainted with the recommendations of the medical establishment, primarily pharmaceutical, but formed my own basic better hypothesis regarding the most viable ways to combat such neurological disease.
A roster of varying anti-Alzheimer's therapies has surfaced at present through several streams of research, each modality aspiring and in some measure purporting to prevent or ameliorate this disease. For example, there are several pharmaceutical agents under study such as the drugs Rember and Eternacept. We also have several new dietary and lifestyle recommendations, one study herein clearly illustrating, for example, that five cups of caffeinated coffee each day will reverse Alzheimer's; an emphatic recommendation toward the consumption of beets; and as of January 2009 other research results suggesting that--believe it or not--exposure to cell phone radiation will prevent the disease.
At this time, then, given the small but growing number of such recommendations, and their sometimes disparate approaches, I adhere to an arguably more fundamental, hence reliable, three-part strategy. This is not to suggest that new and other approaches should not be tried: they should and indeed must be, as my strategy seems sound as it is based on maintaining the fundamentals of the body, yet has not been proven in the proper scientific sense to have reversed or prevented even one case of Alzheimer's. My strategy comprises a minimum that won't hurt you, and may help you in preventing or reducing this disease. It will certainly enhance your general health by leaps and bounds.
The strategy is based on: 1.) a radical reduction of the existing toxic load of the body and brain of the sufferer through such mechanisms as urination, perspiration, and perhaps therapeutic interventions such as chelation therapy (note: universal agreement regarding the efficacy of this therapy does not exist), 2.) prevention of new incursions of toxins into the body, through radical dietary and environmental shifts such as adopting an all-organic, paleo diet, and relocating if necessary to a more pristine physical environment, 3.) selected supplementation to boost cognition, and 4.) some form of touch therapy (I deliberately touch, kiss, and hug my father frequently).
But how does one effect a wholesale reduction in our toxic load in our modern world, given our continual exposure to toxins of every kind across all situations and circumstances, starting but not ending with the very food we're spooning into our mouths? I have developed a working body of knowledge regarding how to lower one's toxic load, as well as address the other three elements, above, and I dispense such information.
Nice Game of Checkers, Anyone
For example, even that apparently innocuous checker board you and your ill father or mother sit over for hours each day is suspect: what adhesives, stains or varnishes, waxes, formaldehydes, or other injurious petrochemical or other materials were used in its construction? Just this afternoon (04-01-09), I had an extended conversation with a Pennsylvania wood craftsman who hand-crafts solid wood checker boards, and he acknowledged that at present he does use a petroleum-based (i.e. petrochemical) agent on his boards.
Though all or some of the aforementioned materials may outgas (i.e. release their molecules into the air) in residual amounts, they may still pose a hazard, since:
Moreover, what of the lumber or other raw wood from which the checker board was made? Were chemical agents used to heat-treat that wood? Pest or mold-proof it? Such processes are common for wood products. What about the warehouse or other holding and transport areas where the lumber was held prior to delivery and fabrication of the checker board? Were these areas pest-controlled or otherwise subject to chemical application or exposure? What of the growing and harvesting process for the trees that produced the wood for the board? Were pesticides, herbicides, or other farming chemicals or agents used? If so, which ones? Last, what of the growing environment for the trees: were the tree crops located near areas of industrial pollution, airborne agricultural spraying, or other hazardous processes or materials? "Near" could include factories ten miles away, depending on wind and other climactic patterns of pollutant distribution, whether gaseous, particulate, or both.
However, who sells a checker board containing no injurious components? And what if no one sells one?
And in a disturbing addition, the newest realities of compromised product manufacture in China, Japan, and even the United States elicit concern over radiation contamination.
The goal for Alzheimer's and other dementia patients is to maintain and indeed build as much "neuro-protection" as possible. Any element of their external environment (i.e. their living and working space) or internal environment (i.e. the food they consume and its effect on their body and brain), or behavioral process (what they do and how they think) that accomplishes this is to be favored and utilized; any whose composition or operation detracts from this must be eliminated.
You must seek products, services, materials, and techniques that effect an absolute minimum toxic impact on the body and brain of the dementia sufferer. You must not inadvertently add to the toxic load or "body burden" of your loved one, as their brain has enough to handle already.
Not a Cure
What follows are the general parameters of what can and cannot be accomplished under the regimen I recommend. I do not assert that a genuine case of dementia can be "cured."
However, there are maladies whose symptoms mimic dementia, and these are open to improvement. For example, if an environmental contaminant is the culprit causing symptomatic behavior, you can attempt to eliminate the contaminant, and thus normalize the behavior and symptoms of your loved one. You can also reduce the toxic load of your loved one, dramatically in the best of cases, thereby fortifying their body, brain, and bodily defenses, which is absolutely helpful, and indeed necessary, in fighting every malady, not just dementia. In the case of my father I was, and still am, anxious to help bolster his body and brain as much as I possibly can, to give him every possible advantage whether actual or theoretical in fighting his dementia, and staying as generally healthy as possible.
You will seek, to the best of your ability, to slow the rate of decline of your loved one. Alzheimer's disease is considered progressive, ending in death, but I believe that it is possible to slow its rate of progress, the pace at which it debilitates. This is my premise and predicate in the care I provide my own father, and is my same assumption in providing you the information and perspective of this website, to assist you in caring for your loved one.
You won't hear my unique perspective and recommendations echoed by your average neurologist. The mindset and approach of the modern neurologist suffers unfortunately from the same operational poverty common to much of modern medicine: money and profit rule the day, no matter the ultimate result for the patient. This reality is so overarching and implicit that most doctors and other modern health practitioners are likely not even aware of it. As far as they are concerned, they are sincerely trying to "help the patient," and they have no idea what critiques such as mine are talking about. Of course, the more acute, insightful, and intelligent of them do understand this assessment, and some will acknowledge and affirm it, while others won't.
Another element of medicine requiring improvement, but likely characteristic of all medicine from the dawn of time, not just modern medicine, that can be lacking in the area of modern dementia diagnosis and treatment is the so-called bedside manner of the practitioner. In my case, for example, the neurologist who diagnosed my father with dementia (Avery Katz of Clifton, N.J.), uttering words to me I had never officially heard before all my years of life with my father, words that most adult children dread, "Your father has dementia," were spoken to me with the casual tone of someone ordering extra pepperoni on their pizza.
My interest in health and nutrition has probably spanned over twenty years, and brought me to the doorstep of several different theories of, and approaches to, health and nutrition, and indeed, I have stepped over several of those doorsteps into the "room" of their acceptance and practice. However, I have found the general perspective of Dr. Hulda R. Clark perhaps the most powerful and compelling. It cuts right to the heart of the overall reason for our decline in health.
To begin or enhance your journey, then, read every word at this site, absorb it's general predicates and perspectives, then secure a copy of the seminal The Cure for All Diseases by Dr. Clark; a key part of the overall strategy I recommend is that of Dr. Clark. I was in contact last year with Linda Carter, her publisher.
Note, July 22, 2010: I am saddened to learn and report that Dr. Clark has passed away at 80 years old.
I wish you and yours all the best, and all the luck in the world with your loved one suffering dementia.
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