A functional medicine approach to dementia and cognitive decline

Studio 4

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR) — Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.

According to the CDC, an estimated 5 million adults are living with dementia. It is projected to be nearly 14 million by 2060. So, is there anything to be done about this cognitive decline?

Dr. Jeff Whelchel from the Center for Functional Medicine has some insight into the topic.

What is dementia and cognitive impairment?

Subjective Cognitive Impairment (SCI) – the person notices that their cognition is getting worse, but testing by the physician is normal.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – Testing shows that cognition is abnormal – memory, organizing, speaking, calculating, etc. The person can still do their ADLs. Often leads to AD.

Dementia – A global cognitive decline in which many mental abilities are lost. Memory is usually the first, followed by reading, writing, speaking, reasoning, calculating, organizing, etc.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)– a form of dementia marked by amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Diagnosis can be definitively made from a PET scan or spinal tap.

Why are more people getting dementia?

  • We are living longer. Average life expectancy in 1920 was mid 50s. Today, it is 76 for men and 81 for women
  • Poor diet and lifestyle
  • Environmental toxins – chemicals, pesticides, mold, poor dental care, viruses, etc.
  • Genetics – ApoE

Alzheimer’s is the only one of the 10 most common causes of death for which there has been no effective treatment. There has also been no treatment for SCI or MCI.

AD is not a single disease– that is why drug therapy doesn’t work. At least six types of AD have been described. Each one requires a different treatment.

  • Type 1 – Inflammatory
  • Type 1.5 – Glycotoxic (Type 3 DM)
  • Type 2 – Atrophic
  • Type 3 – Toxic
  • Type 4 – Vascular
  • Type 5 – Traumatic

Over 50 causes of dementia have been identified. If you have a roof with 50 holes in it, only patching one or two will not help. We need to patch as many as we can.

AD is not the result of the brain doing something wrong, like cancer or plaque in arteries. It is a defense mechanism run amok. The brain suffers some kind of injury, infection, or other assault. The defense mechanism response includes producing amyloid plaque, which is a protective response.

Is there anything to do if you or a loved one has dementia or cognitive issues?

The ReCODE Program is the first program to show improvement and even reversal in AD and cognitive impairment patients. It’s founded by Dr. Dale Bredesen based on 40 years of research at UCLA.

Basics of the ReCODE Program

  1. Prevent and reduce inflammation – improve diet, exercise, improve sleep, address potential infections, optimize the immune system, and reduce chronic inflammation.
  2. Optimize hormones, nutrients and other factors – to function at its best, the brain needs things such as testosterone, estradiol, vitamin D, folic acid, etc.
  3. Eliminate Toxins – Identify any toxic exposures, remove the source, and help the body detox by using certain foods, supplements, hydration, etc.

The earlier into the process that we intervene, the better the chance for success. Best results with SCI, MCI or early dementia.

For more information, visit www.cfmamarillo.com/cognitive-impairment. You can also pick up the book, “The End of Alzheimer’s” by Dr. Bredesen.

Center for Functional Medicine
4514 Cornell Ste. B, Amarillo, Texas 79109

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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