Alzheimer Disease: An Novel Approach

Brain AgingIn clinic, I visited with a lovely lady with Alzheimer Disease. She was accompanied by her husband who has been a loving and supportive companion. He mentioned that she gets more agitated when reminded of things and often forgets conversations. She is also increasingly sensitive to criticism or perceived confrontation. Her daily function of self-care and short term memory continue to decline. A slow progression of mood and personality changes, difficulty with finding words, confusion on familiar tasks and disorientation of time, person and location. With a sad expression, he mentions her care has become progressively challenging.

Memory loss can be like trees in the fall, the inevitable fading of memories, difficulty in processing and unable to care for oneself. Alzheimer Disease has become the number one worry of baby boomers, surpassing cancer and heart disease. Here are natural remedies for slowing the progression.

1. Chronic stress causes elevated cortisol levels which causes brain death in memory and language centers of the brain (the hippocampus) and shortened telomeres leading to accelerated Alzheimer disease and aging. 

Meditation can cultivate brain healing for patients and their caregivers. Compassion can reduce stress, fear and anxiety that is caused by this condition.

Love & Kindness Meditation: Close your eyes, start with sending love to yourself. Put your hands on your heart and repeat 3 times wishing yourself to be happy and well. Then, think of your loved one and send all your love and warm wishes to them:

May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain. 
May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.
May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.

3. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain and increases the production of nerve growth factors. Multiple studies show exercise lowers the risk of cognitive decline. Not only physical activities, cognitive stimulation is also beneficial. So crossword puzzles, music or art and mental training allows couples to spend quality time together and is better than computerized cognitive training.

 

A specific brain exercise called Kirtan Kriya has been clinically shown through PET and SPECT brain scans to increase global brain energy, cerebral flow, oxygen delivery and glucose use. Studies out of Harvard University show increased activity in the memory and language centers of the brain with meditation based on kriyas.

Repeat the following words, sitting with eyes closed, focusing between the brows:

Saa : touch your index fingers to thumbs

Taa: Touch your middle fingers to thumbs

Naa: Touch your ring fingers to thumbs

Maa: Touch little fingers to thumbs

2 minutes in a normal voice, 2 minutes in a whisper, 2 minutes in your mind. Then reverse with 2 minutes in your mind, 2 minutes in a whisper and 2 minutes in a normal voice. Total 12 minutes. Inhale deeply, stretch your hands above your head and bring them down in a sweeping motion as you exhale.

3. Nutrition plays a key role in Alzheimer disease.

A high sugar diet increases risk for Alzheimer disease. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2013 demonstrates that even mild elevation of blood sugar — a level of around 105 or 110 — is associated with an elevated risk for dementia.

Eat real food, organically grown. Pesticides on crops have been highly linked to Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurology published a study that found that patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s had four times higher levels of the DDT metabolite DDE in their blood compared to people of similar age who do not have the disease. DDT has been replaced by glyphosate which has similar effects on the body.

Increase brain specific nutrients such has B vitamins (folate and niacin), Vitamin E, phosphatidylserine, Coenzyme Q10, ginkgo and omega 3 fatty acids.

An Integrative approach with medications, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction can help slow down the progression of memory loss improving the quality of life for the both the patient and his/her caregiver. Whole medicine models that incorporate meditation, stress reduction, spirituality and social connections are the way of the future, share this article with someone you love.

References: Integrative Medicine by David Rakel, Alzheimer’s Association, National Institute of Aging.

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The light in me, bows to the light in you~ Namaste
Dr. Patel was named one of the TOP DOCS in Phoenix Magazine 2009, 2016, Healthcare Provider of the Year 2017 by the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce and Internist of the Year 2011 by the American College of Physicians Arizona Chapter. She is uniquely trained, board-certified and practices both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in Fountain Hills, Arizona. She is additionally fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine.
She has a passion for teaching medicine and acts as a preceptor for both medical residents and providers in training. Dr. Patel has a special interest in Integrative Medicine, Women’s health, Pediatric & Adolescent care, Nutrition and Medical Cosmetics.

 

 

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