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The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. Dale Bredesen

The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. Dale Bredesen

We fear Alzheimer’s as we fear no other disease for two reasons. It is the only all one of the nation’s ten most common causes of death for which there has been no effective treatment. And it is not only fatal: it robs its victims of their lives long before they are gone. But Dale E. Bredesen, MD, has turned the tables, showing that Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline can not only be prevented but, in many cases, reversed. Now, in this paradigm-shifting book, he brings hope, and the first good news, to Alzheimer’s patients, with a new understanding of the disease and a new program they can put into effect themselves. Dr. Bredesen reveals that Alzheimer’s is not one condition, as it is currently treated, but several. They are driven by different mechanisms and typically manifest in different ways and at different ages. But all are dramatically influenced by imbalances in thirty-six metabolic factors that can trigger “downsizing” in the brain. He then explains his research-based protocol, which addresses ways to rebalance these mechanisms by adjusting lifestyle factors; including micronutrients, hormone levels. stress, and sleep quality. He explores the critical role of diet in cognitive decline as well as the importance of autophagy, which involves a strict overnight fast. The results have been impressive. Of the first ten patients on the protocol, nine displayed significant improvement within three to six months; since then the protocol has yielded similar results with hundreds more. With wide-ranging patient stories that allow us to understand what it’s like to recover when recovery is deemed impossible, and specific information that will help patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment centers put the protocol into action, this book will fundamentally change how we treat, prevent, and even think about Alzheimer’s disease.

The above quote is found on the inside cover of Dr. Dale Bredesen’s new book, The End of Alzheimer’s – The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.

It’s my great honor and privilege to interview Dr. Bredesen for today’s segment of The Empowering Neurologist. I have known Dr. Bredesen for many years and have followed his work closely. He is clearly a pioneer and trailblazer, but more importantly, he is not afraid to challenge the mainstream medical world’s fixation with developing magic bullets, especially as it relates to dealing with a disease like Alzheimer’s. Rather, he has developed a far more comprehensive program that is proving successful – finally! Continue reading

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Yes, Gluten Sensitivity Is Very Real

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see an article either in print or on the Internet indicating that the notion of going gluten-free is entirely overblown. Typically, the conclusions often sounds something like, “While only about 1.6% of Americans, those with confirmed celiac disease, need to be on a gluten-free diet, there is absolutely no reason for anyone else to adopt this diet.”

Statements like these are generally made to convince people who may be considering eliminating gluten or who may already be on a gluten-free diet, to go back to eating gluten-containing foods. Clearly, for those of us who have done the research to understand how gluten can affect certain people, pushing back against this type of sentiment has always been a challenge. Continue reading

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Alzheimer’s – The Fundamental Principle

Where are we in terms of treating Alzheimer’s disease? To answer this question, I turn to one of the most well-respected, peer-reviewed medical journal dealing with clinical neurology.

In a recent editorial in the journal Neurology, Drs. Michal Schnaider Beeri, and Joshua Sonnen stated:

Despite great scientific efforts to find treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD), only 5 medications are marketed, with limited beneficial effects on symptoms, on a limited proportion of patients, without modification of the disease course. The prevalence of AD doubles every 5 years, reaching the alarming rate of 50% in those aged 85 years and older. In the context of the demographic trends of modern society, where the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, identification of new therapeutic targets that may prevent, delay, or cure AD is critically needed.

I so agree. The editorial goes on to describe how the body produces a growth hormone, BDNF, that is associated with reduced risk for cognitive decline and describes how looking at the genetic control for BDNF might enhance cognitive reserve.

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Powerful New Study Shows High-Fat Diet is Best

It’s hard to imagine that manufacturers of processed foods continue to think it’s a good idea to put the term “low-fat” on their labels to enhance sales. Maybe it is a good idea from a sales perspective because so many people still buy into the notion that a low fat diet is a good idea. But that is absolutely in direct contradiction with current science.

In a new study just published in the highly regarded journal Lancetresearchers from multiple highly-regarded institutions around the world studied an incredibly large number of individuals ages 35 to 70 year (135,335), from 18 countries, over an average of 7.4 years. They carried out very specific assessments of the foods that these individuals ate and evaluated their food choices in terms of macronutrient composition (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), and specifically broke the fat consumption down to evaluate saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fats. Further, they compared the diets to the risk of various endpoints including death, major cardiovascular event, stroke, and heart failure.

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Alcohol and Your Brain

Alcohol and Your Brain

A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, brings into question existing recommendations in the US and UK, many of which are now being revised, for moderate alcohol consumption. Previously, we believed there was a bell curve-like relationship between consumption and brain heath, with high risk existing for those who abstain and those who drink heavily, and a slight reduction in risk for those who drink a modest amount.

But this new study, which measured the size of the hippocampus in drinkers, brings new evidence to light that contradicts this commonly held belief. Let’s take a look.

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More Good News About Olive Oil

It’s fairly common knowledge these days that there are some really important health benefits associated with consuming olive oil. No doubt, one of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet turns out to be so healthful is because it is rich in olives and olive oil. And this may explain why following the Mediterranean diet is associated with significant risk reduction for things like breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia.

But it’s been a bit challenging to try to delineate specifically what it is about olive oil that makes it so special as it relates to health. There are multiple chemicals found in olive oil that are bioactive in a positive sense, and new research has identified yet another chemical and mechanism that may explain why olive oil is so good for us. Continue reading

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Blood Sugar and Your Brain

Several years ago, when I wrote Grain Brain, I had a long discussion with our publisher centered around choosing the best subtitle. Ultimately, we decided to emphasize the toxic role of sugar and carbs on the brain, and with good reason. Since that time, there have been a large number of studies that have confirmed the thesis that elevated blood sugar is profoundly detrimental, not just for the brain in general, but for brain function as well.

As the authors of a new paper entitled, Brain atrophy in ageing: Estimating effects of blood glucose levels vs. other type 2 diabetes effects point out, our brains shrink as we age with as much as 5% volume loss occurring between age 60 and 70. And as you would expect, this correlates with declining function.

A lot of the research has shown that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is what accelerates brain aging. But as this new study shows, it’s not the diagnosis of T2D that is the issue. Well before that diagnosis is made, brain structure is affected by blood sugar, even in the “normal” range! Continue reading

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