Dementia is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain and there are many different types including Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. Brain function is affected to the point where it interferes with a person’s normal life. It usually affects people over 65 years of age but can also occur in younger people, some in their 40’s and 50’s. It can be difficult to diagnose but some common symptoms are; progressive and frequent memory loss, confusion, personality changes, apathy and withdrawal and the inability to perform everyday tasks.
The Australian website Fight Dementia tells us it is can be inherited, though it doesn’t have to be and that there is no prevention and no cure although some medications can help to reduce some symptoms. They also state that there is research going on with some showing that changes in lifestyle and behaviour look promising (although they don’t tell us what the changes are) but more research and understanding needs to take place. Their statistics state that currently in Australia (2017), more than 413,000 people are living with dementia, it is on the increase and it is the second leading cause of death.
When any illness is on the increase, it is wise, I think, to look at our current lifestyle habits that may be contributing. According to Dr. John Bergman, Chiropractor, Teacher and faculty member at the LA School of Chiropractic, the main contributing factors to dementia are:
- Exposure to mercury and other heavy metals
- Prescription medication
- Stress, stagnation and inactivity
- Thyroid and other hormonal imbalances
- Inflammation from low-level infections, mould and food allergies
- Artificial food colours, flavours and sweeteners
- Nutritional imbalances and deficiencies
Dr. Dale Bredesen, professor of neurology at the Mary S. Eason Centre for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA, has developed a programme to reverse dementia which has proven extremely successful. I include it below, with thanks to Dr. John Bergman for posting this, as all the points mentioned are very simple, yet effective treatments for not only dementia, but for most modern illnesses. Note, my comments are in italics and brackets. There is very little research into alternative treatments for dementia as most of them cannot be patented and therefore are of little benefit to pharmaceutical companies.
- Eliminate all simple carbohydrates; (i.e. cakes, biscuits, bread and pasta made with white flour and/or white sugar and also white rice and other processed grains that have had the husks removed)
- Eliminate gluten and processed food;
- Increase vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish; (I would stress organic here!)
- Reduce stress with yoga and meditation;
- Increase sleep from 4-5 hours per night to 7-8 hours per night;
- Take methylcobalamin (vitamin B12), vitamin D, CoQ10, and fish oil each day; (testing maybe necessary to check your levels)
- Optimize oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush;
- Fast for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast;
- Fast for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
- Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week.
Other treatments that are showing promise in treating cognitive decline and worth mentioning:
- Coconut oil – a medium chain fatty acid that helps to reduce the amyloid plaque in the arteries which is a contributing factor to temporal lobe and vascular dementia.
- Chiropractic treatment – restoring circulation and nerve function where it has been blocked, is proving extremely helpful as an adjuvant treatment for dementia.
- Music Therapy – Dr. Oliver Sacks has a programme whereby he introduces music by way of iPods to patients in nursing homes suffering Alzheimer’s. The results are astounding, giving these patients a much higher quality of life than before the Music Therapy. See www.musicandmemory.org for more information.
- The Mediterranean Diet – high in olive oil, unfarmed fresh fish and high amounts of organic fruit and vegies, this diet is showing improvements in cognitive function.
- Treatment of dementia with natural therapies is showing great promise for many suffering this illness. Surely it is a result of our modern diet and lifestyle and with the necessary changes we can reverse the symptoms and return good health to many people and their families.
Suzanne Staples ND DBM
Naturopath Herbalist Homoeopath
Copyright Suzanne Staples