Dementia

Hi,
     mmm, Paula?  is that right?  My left ear is a little weak (I sure hate getting old) so I am not sure I heard you right?  Anyhow it was really nice chatting with you.
     That was sure a nice memorial they put on for Quint & Cindy.  I really miss them both, though we did not intersect too much after Mom passed away (before then my family used to eat in the Pioneer’s Home once a week, and Quint would occasionally join us).  It was a nice touch to do both memorials at once.
     The book that I mentioned was:
  • The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline, by Dale E. Bredesen.
     I first heard about Dr. Bredesen’s Alzheimer’s disease protocol about 4 years ago.  I would have been a lot more skeptical except I knew of his work previously, when he was the director of the Buck Institute–a premier research institute in California.  So I feel what he has to say is probably reliable.  The book was a very good read, I will paste in my notes I took below so you can make a more informed decision on whether to buy the book.  If you do all the tests he suggest it would cost more than $8,000–but perhaps you could find a doctor who would recommend the tests and then maybe insurance would pay for it.
     After learning that vitamin D3 was one of the things that was a trigger for dementia I started taking 2000 IU a day.  Usually I am very much against taking vitamins (taking a daily multivitamin will actually shorten your lifespan except in very particular cases!)  I would not take vitamin D3 even now, but everyone in Alaska has low vitamin D3–at least all those I know of who have been tested.  Of course testing should be the basis for treatment (the book has a good formula to figure out how much Vitamin D3 you should take–if you know your numbers).  I will be in Sri Lanka (by India) in April and plan to have my vitamin D3 levels tested then so I will know the optimum dose.  Of course in the summer I will take a lot less, and let the sun make Vitamin D3 for me!
     I am going to do a little testing to see how bad my number are.  I think information is always a good thing 🙂  Testing is pretty cheap in Sri Lanka so I am going to test for inflammation indicators (like C-reactive protein, interleukin-6), cholesterol, vitamin E, homocysteine, fasting insulin, thyroid hormones, B vitamins, heavy metals.  Apparently what is considered a medically reasonable range for many of these is not optimum for brain health, so I recommend getting the book and consulting with a doctor about what the book says before determining a course of action to correct any that are not within the optimum range specified in the book.
     There are a lot of things like leaky gut that can’t be tested for in Sri Lanka (at least not that I know of).  But this will give me an idea of what steps I need to take now so I can talk to a doctor about it reasonably, and if I have symptoms that indicate things like leaky gut I can get the testing done here :).
     I log all the foods that I eat to have a complete picture of my nutrition status.  A few  things that I am typically low on nutrition-wise I have been trying to increase my consumption of, especially B vitamins (low B vitamins are another trigger for dementia, according to the book).  For example I was low on Folate, so I am eating more white beans to assure I get enough.  This and vitamins B6, B9 & B12 are key to reducing homocysteine.  High homocysteine is a major problem in the old because a) they don’t eat enough of these vitamins to keep homocysteine in check and b) sometimes older people don’t absorb as much of these vitamins.  So people get a double whammy with the B vitamins (and some other vitamins).  With my diet logging I could see I was not getting nearly enough of them, and have modified my diet to assure I do.  Which mostly works, but it took a while to change my eating habits.
     If you wanted me to track your foods and send your nutritional levels for a week or so I would be happy to do it–if you didn’t mind my putting the data (unidentified as to who, of course) on my blog DefeatingAging.com (which I am just getting started with; I have a long way to go before I get it working the way I want.)
Cheers,
Ray
PS I may put parts of my emails to you on my blog.  Any response you write will not go there unless you give permission.  Of course I won’t put anything in there that would identify anyone but me 🙂

Ray’s notes on The End of Alzheimer’s, by Dale E. Bredesen
Ray’s reading list

Note about identities: I have changed all the names in my blogs…but if anyone wishes me to use their real name I will–and I will also mention that it is their real name.