Mild-mannered Dr. Dale Bredesen speaks directly to patients, physicians, and those caring for loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, offering a roadmap of action from despair to relief. He explains the way in which those at risk for Alzheimer’s as well as those already suffering can change the course of their lives by making positive changes in their lifestyle. For some people, the changes will seem daunting, but it is not a daunting lifestyle: perhaps different than your routine, but well within anyone’s abilities.
After a year of following his guidelines with patients, I want to hire a publicist and a cheerleader. The publicist would shout out to the world: find out if you are at risk! The earlier you know, the easier it is to protect your brain and the quality of your life. The cheerleader would say: buck up, you can totally do this. You can get the gene testing, get some simple lab tests and tweak your diet and lifestyle, adding in supplements and maybe some hormones, and you can keep your brain. You can spare your loved ones the front-row seat at your decline.
The book is awesome. For the science-curious, there is plenty of back-story on the laboratory successes and failures that informed Dr. Bredesen’s recognition of the complexity of cognitive impairment. Our very resourceful brains do quite well with individual injuries (whether from genetics, inflammation, blood sugar, or others), and only succumb when the injuries are numerous. Dr Bredesen is up to about 36 and counting, expecting there will be a few more. Almost all of these injuries are just wounds and not death blows: they can be tweaked and the injury itself reversed.
Just as it takes 6-12 months of good conditions for a starfish to regrow an amputated limb, so can lost nerve connections regrow in the human brain. Progress should show at 3 months and be optimal by 12. Unlike the starfish whose recovered limb is permanent, the human brain’s nerve cells require the ongoing presence of that set of good conditions that allowed them to regrow.
Practically speaking, this book will be helpful to
- People at high risk for dementia: learn how to prevent its onset.
- Practitioners caring for high risk or affected patients: learn how to optimize their recovery.
- Motivated patients and caregivers: learn what you can do for yourself and what teamwork to request from your physicians.
Your questions, I imagine
Just what is this program? A lot, admittedly, but doable, and well defined in the book.
Do I have to do the whole program? For prevention, probably not; for treatment: yes, you have to do a lot of it.
I'm not sure if it's for me. For more information, visit Dr. Bredesen's website, chock full of content both written and video, as you prefer.
How do I find a doctor to work with me? I’d suggest giving a copy of the book to your own doctor with a list of the lab tests you’d like ordered. Concede right up front that you understand: doctors must hate it when patients come in with something they read on the internet, but this is work based on peer-reviewed research, and you’d really appreciate it if they’d work with you. You can also work directly with Dr. Bredesen and his team. His website is preparing to greet the onslaught of interest, check it out at mpi-cognition.org.
You can also come to see me!