Have you ever lost your cell phone or walked into a room and forgot why you went there in the first place? If you are like me, this has happened to you in the recent past. Thank goodness for the “Find My Phone” app. With a busy lifestyle, these episodes are common. You may refer to them as your “senior moments”. But with the incidence of Alzheimer’s becoming more common, you may start to worry that these occurrences signal early memory loss, or worse, the warning signs of impending dementia.
Experts agree that these episodes are usually not indicative of cognitive decline. Symptoms of dementia usually begin gradually and become worse over time. They also will impair a person’s ability to function at work, in social interactions and in relationships. Often, these symptoms are noticed by friends or family members before they are acknowledged by the person themselves. So, when should we become concerned?
Early Signs of Memory Loss
- Asking the same questions over and over
- Forgetting common words when speaking
- Mixing up words, such as saying “bed” instead of “table”
- Forgetting conversations, appointments or events, and not remembering them later
- Difficulty with math skills such as calculating a tip or trouble solving math problems that have been routine in the past
- Difficulty with organizing and following steps of a familiar task, such as making dinner or getting dressed for work
- Getting lost while driving in a familiar area
- Mood or behavior changes for no apparent reason
- Placing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in the refrigerator
Preventing Cognitive Decline
Is there anything we can do to save our brains from this kind of cognitive decline? Dr. Dale Bredesen thinks so. In fact, he has done extensive research and written a book about it called The End of Alzheimer’s, The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.
Dr. Bredesen is internationally recognized as an expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. He is a professor of Neurology at the Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Bredesen found that by using a comprehensive approach to assessment and treatment, the reversal of cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease was possible. He calls his program, ReCODE – Reversal of Cognitive Decline.
The Bredesen ReCODE protocol evaluates 150 different variables to address the active underlying pathways for Alzheimer’s Disease including metabolic issues, toxicity, inflammation, and mitochondrial damage.
No single drug has been found to stop or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and drugs have only had modest effects on symptoms. Dr. Dale Bredesen suggests that a broader-based approach, instead of a single drug for a single target, may be more effective for the treatment of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s. His laboratory has found evidence that Alzheimer’s stems from an imbalance in nerve cell signaling.
Most of the previous research has suggested that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques form between the neurons and disrupt their function. Dr. Bredesen believes the source of the plaques, has a normal function in the brain. Amyloid beta may have good or bad functions depending on whether there are insults to the brain such as inflammation, trauma or infection.
In his book, Dr. Bredesen describes how Alzheimer’s is like a roof with thirty-seven holes. The current medications for Alzheimer’s disease can plug one or two, but you will only slow the inevitable unless you plug them all. Using the tenets of Functional Medicine, the ReCODE (Reversal of Cognitive Decline) program works to identify the root causes of these “holes” and repair them. Some of those root causes are: insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high homocysteine, nutrient or hormone deficiencies, genetic or biochemical pathways that are suboptimal, specific oral or nasal bacteria, viral contributors, heavy metal or mold toxicities.
Dr. Bredesen has categorized Alzheimer’s disease into 6 different types depending on the root causes of brain insults that have lead to the process of cognitive decline. This also helps to target treatment. Through various lab tests, exam and history, a physician trained in the ReCODE Protocol can determine which type or types of Alzheimer’s disease the patient has and implement an individualized treatment plan.
Types of Alzheimer's for ReCODE Program
Type 1 – Inflammation, high C-reactive protein (CRP)
Type 1.5 – Glycotoxic – features of both Type 1 and 2 – insulin resistance and inflammation
Type 2 – Cold – lack of trophic factors – hormones including insulin, thyroid, sex hormones, lack of support for normal neural function
Type 3 – Toxic
Type 4 – Vascular
Type 5 – Traumatic
Dale Bredesen’s ReCODE Program provides a comprehensive personalized approach designed to improve cognition and reverse mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease. Any person who has a family history of dementia, signs of memory issues, or genetic risks for Alzheimer’s should consider the program.
I am certified through the Institute for Functional Medicine as a trained provider of the ReCODE Program. For more information on the Dale Bredesen ReCODE Program visit https://www.apollohealthco.com/ or contact our office today.
Reversal of Cognitive Decline https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4221920/
Amyloid Beta in Infection https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/340/340ra72
What Happens to the Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-happens-brain-alzheimers-disease
Video about Alzheimer’s brain changes https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/video-how-alzheimers-changes-brain?utm_source=ADvideo&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=rightrail
Amyloid and ApoE https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983361
Video interview with Rhonda Patrick, PhD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq7uVZ_0D3U