By David Webster
Sitting with my fifty-eight-year-old sister while she was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s was devastating. I have never felt the same level of despair and hopelessness in any other situation in my adult life. The message I continued to hear from her physicians was “there is nothing we can do”. Watching her cognitive decline without understanding a way to provide relief was beyond a doubt some of my darkest days.
In hindsight, her cognitive impairment started in her early 40’s with her having difficulty remembering words or completing thoughts. A professional woman, work became more and more difficult until the administration forced her out. Then there was a steady decline until the advanced stages where she was unable to communicate or take care of even her most basic needs.
Since my sister had early onset Alzheimer’s, I’m told I probably have a set of ApoE4 genes. This means I have a 70% chance of getting Alzheimer’s. In 2015, my thoughts were why get tested. What difference would it make? There is nothing you can do about it. The drugs aren’t even effective.
In early 2017, I received what seemed to be a random call from someone wanting to do a workshop at the studio. During the call, the conversation turned to Alzheimer’s and she told about a New York Times best seller, The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale E. Bredesen, MD. Wow… really? How exciting. It’s true, new research is shining some light into this heavy weight I have been carrying with me for the past 10 years.
Dr. Bredesen says, “No one should die from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Although Bredesen’s results are from empirical research with relatively small sample sizes, the results are amazing. In the initial research study, 9 out of 10 showed significant improvement within 3-6 months and 8 went back to work. The one that didn’t show progress was too far along in the disease. A follow-on study of 100 participants reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Parkinsonism in 2018 continued to show similar results. Now 1000’s of patients are seeing initial promising improvement. It’s so exciting that there is promise for our futures.
Dr. Bredesen’s research is based on a new model for health and wellness called functional medicine. Functional medicine takes into account lifestyle changes to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. Rather than looking for one drug to cure Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Dr. Bredesen determined there are 36 factors that contribute to AD. He likens it to a roof with 36 holes. Plugging one hole with a pharmaceutical is not going to solve the leaky roof.
“Alzheimer’s disease, is caused by an imbalance between synapse-preserving and synapse-destroying processes, and that dozens of factors can decrease the former and accelerate the later…” [1.]
Dr Bredesen has determined that Alzheimer’s is not the brain failing but rather a protective mechanism of the brain gone out of balance. It is a critical cell management aspect of our bodies and brain to make new cells and destroy old worn-out or compromised cells, in order to optimize system function. AD occurs when this mechanism has gone into overdrive, destroying many more cells than it is making.
There are three categories of threats that cause this to happen: 1. inflammation, 2. shortages of brain supporting elements, and 3. toxins. To combat these threats, lifestyle changes can be adopted to reduce/eliminate inflammation, supply deficient elements and remove toxins. The approach is complex including a myriad of tests to determine which elements are sub-optimal and then prescribing a complex individualized protocol to address optimization. He calls these tests a “cognoscopy” and states anyone over 40 should have the procedure.
Although this approach is necessary for those already experience cognitive impairment, there are some basic practices everyone can start with.
- Eliminate sugars and high glycemic foods.
- Eat no process foods.
- Implement 12/3 intermittent fasting.
- Exercise including yoga that increases your heart rate.
- Practice restorative and meditation types of yoga to downregulate the nervous system.
- Avoid and eliminate toxins.
- Take basic supplements and herbs as needed.
We introduced Memory Maintenance Yoga (MMY) classes at Better Living Yoga studio in November 2017. We held our first workshop on Yoga for Brain Health in June 2018. We now offer 5 MMY classes weekly on our regular schedule. Based on the success and importance of slowing the progression and preventing AD, I’ve developed an online MMY Teacher Training (MMYTT) to inform yoga teachers around the world how to provide MMY classes to their communities. JOIN US.
- There is something you can do to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s Disease.
- If you have cognitive impairment, consider getting a cognoscopy and get on a serious personalized protocol under the guidance of a trained physician.
- The protocol is complex but can be simplified and implemented in phases.
- The sooner you start some simple lifestyle changes the better.
- Implement Memory Maintenance Yoga into your life.
- Get Memory Maintenance Yoga teacher certified and start a MMY class in your community.
You no longer have to watch people deteriorate and suffer with no options. Stop the progression of AD before it even starts. Empower people with this new knowledge and possibility. The first MMYTT course launching March 19, 2019 is near capacity with only a few spots left.
[1.] Bredesen, D. 2017. The End of Alzheimer’s. Penguin.
[2.] Bredesen et al., J Alzheimer’s Dis Parkinsonism 2018, 8:5.