What You Need To Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

 In Functional Medicine, Neurology, Video Blog

Alzheimer's Disease Explained by Dr. Ken Sharlin

Alzheimer’s disease, of course, is a very tragic condition affecting now something along the lines of 5.4 million Americans. It’s a condition of gradual and progressive memory loss that ends in early death for many Americans, and for those who have not been directly affected by the illness, unfortunately, many people know someone or are caregivers for someone who have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Tragically, there have been well over approximately 250 drug trials so far that have searched for cures, searched for treatments for this illness, and unfortunately, for the most part, all of the drug trials have failed.

There is Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

At this time, the only FDA approved treatment for Alzheimer’s disease improves the symptoms of the condition somewhat, but has no impact on the underlying disorder at all. So the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, whether you happen to be the one who is the unfortunate recipient of that diagnosis or a loved one or a friend, becomes a very tragic predicament.

But there is a silver lining. The silver lining is that functional medicine offers hope with people with Alzheimer’s disease. And we’ve known that for some time because in the mainstream medical literature, in the Alzheimer’s Association literature, and on their website, it’s very clear that lifestyle factors, including nutrition, such as the MIND diet or the Mediterranean diet, impact Alzheimer’s disease.

The really exciting news came  in September, of 2014, when a neurologist affiliated with the Buck Institute for Aging Research and UCLA Medical School by the name of Dr. Dale Bredesen published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal in which he described 10 individuals, five of whom had a pre-Alzheimer condition called mild cognitive impairment, and five of whom actually had Alzheimer’s disease, and he published this paper describing these 10 individuals. Of the 10, nine of them were relatively mildly affected, and one had late stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, he described a program in which he corrected approximately 36 different factors that he identified as critical to address in Alzheimer’s disease, what he found is that when he addressed those factors, these people actually got better. Nine out of 10 of them got better. The one that did not get better was the one who had late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Bredesen’s take home message from that original paper was that, if you have mild cognitive impairment, if you have these mild changes, you feel like your memory is not quite right, or you’ve seen a doctor or a psychologist who’s used that specific term, or you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but you’re felt to be in the early stages, that there is hope for reversibility of the decline in memory.

Now, that paper was extremely important and very exciting and got a lot of attention, but two years later in June 2016, Dr. Bredesen published a second paper. The difference between the first and the second paper, is that, in the first paper, Dr. Bredesen said, “Reversal of cognitive decline.” Basically, that means reversal of memory loss. In the second paper, Dr. Bredesen reported on reversal of Alzheimer’s disease. So he specifically said in that second paper, that Alzheimer’s disease was a reversible condition. In the second paper, unlike the first paper, Dr. Bredesen showed that his patients had actually reversed the course of their disease by taking measurements such as MRI scans in which he could look at the volume, the size of the region of the brain that’s affected in Alzheimer’s disease called the hippocampus, and showed that whereas that area of the brain had shrunk down as a result of the condition, after being treated by Dr. Bredesen, that area of the brain actually grew back. It grew new brain cells. Their testing, for example, their memory testing called neuropsychological testing. Those scores that had been low, to begin with, improved dramatically.

We Provide A Treatment Protocol that in Many Cases is Able to Reverse or Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

There were other ways that Dr. Bredesen was able to show very, very specifically that he had actually reversed this disease. He went through, in this paper, some of those 36 points. He went through specific laboratory tests that were low, to begin with, and had corrected after his treatment. He went through the specifics of his treatment plan in this paper so that there was very little question at this point that it is possible to reverse mild cognitive impairment in early Alzheimer’s disease.

That’s a really important message that needs to get out to the country because most people still believe that once this diagnosis is made, that it’s over, there is no hope, throw in the towel, there is nothing that you can do, and that is absolutely false. This information has been presented on national news programs. Maria Shriver has been on the Today Show with Dr. Bredesen. Dr. Bredesen has spoken at medical meetings throughout the world on his research, and I’m very fortunate to have worked with Dr. Bredesen and to have been trained in his approach so that we can offer the very same approach called the Bredesen Protocol here at Sharlin Health and Neurology.

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