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ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

The 1990s marked the end of the so-called Decade of the Brain. We are facing a new millennium of brain dysfunction, with Alzheimer's disease leading the field of causes. There are presently an estimated 4.5 million Alzheimer's patients in the US; other developed countries, like the UK, follow proportionately. Experts are estimating that within 30 years more than half of the population over 85 will suffer with Alzheimer's disease.

Drug treatment is controversial (which means basically useless); tacrine (Cognex) the most widely prescribed drug has been refused licensing in several countries, since there is no evidence it does any good, despite aggressive marketing persuading doctors to prescribe it. Sadly, a number of drugs are known to make the problem worse, such as L-Dopa and acetominophen (Tylenol)

Yet, despite the gloom, it is not widely known that Alzheimer's is a preventable disease and can even be reversed to a degree, sometimes remarkably so. One has to approach it the right way.

RISK FACTORS

Certain studies have shown that exposure to electromagnetic radiation significantly increases the risk of Alzheimer, or makes it rapidly worse. This means working with or near computers, VDUs and similar equipment. But also, of course, it means that mobile phones are adding to the risk.

Good scientific studies have tied Alzheimer's disease to plasma homocysteine levels. Increased amounts of this important bio-marker in the blood spells trouble ≠ for the heart and for the brain. However homocysteine levels can be readily brought to normal, using vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid supplements. I usually add TMG (trimethyl glycine) 1,000 mgms. daily. Few doctors approach important diseases from a nutritional perspective, yet in this case it can be wonderfully helpful.

An important study at Heidelberg University showed that in a large proportion of Alzheimer's cases, the mechanism of that of failure of small blood vessels in the brain (this would lead to brain starvation and degeneration). An important modern treatment, chelation, is known to be very good at restoring the function of older blood vessels. For this reason it is an important treatment for heart disease, strokes and anti-ageing. But the great benefit to Alzheimer's can be understood.

Another part of the puzzle is exposure to toxic metal poisoning. Aluminium was thought to be a main offender. Actually, fewer people think that today. Mercury poisoning seems a far more likely culprit, according to studies carried out at a Texas hospital. But whichever is correct, the good news is that chelation can remove these toxic metals from the tissues. This has been done effectively for over fifty years. Modern switched-on doctors have recognized the value of chelation for Alzheimer's and other degenerative disorders caused by metal poisoning.

TREATMENT MODALITIES

It is vital to understand that all good general health issues are also good news for a tired and deteriorating brain. Exercise, sound nutrition and avoidance of stress are all critical factors.

But certain specific treatments have been shown to be highly beneficial. For example one study showed that vitamin E was BETTER than drug or placebo in reducing the symptoms. The value of B6, B12 and folate have already been alluded to above.

In a very important study published in 1997 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Gingko biloba was shown not only to prevent Alzheimer's degeneration but actually improved many of the cases, compared to the placebo (all the more remarkable, in that the AMA has always been opposed to natural and nutritional therapies!).

Also helpful are glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine and alpha lipoic acid. These are powerful brain anti-oxidants and have remarkable effects on mental performance and cognition. So much so that otherwise healthy individuals notice considerable improvement too!

Which finally brings us to intravenous antioxidant therapy, also known as chelation. It is an specially compounded formula, administered intravenously (as a drip) weekly on an outpatient basis (takes around 2 hours). It is quite painless and easy. There are now literally hundreds of thousands of successful cases, attesting to its safety and effectiveness. Its ability to remove toxic damaging metals has been pointed out. It also can reverse age-deterioration. Specifically, it can reverse the cross-linkage of proteins that leads to wrinkles, stiffness and poor movement function.

Following the groundbreaking work of Dr. David Perlmutter in the USA, it is now appropriate to add a substance known as glutathione, which is administered intravenously. He has observed what he calls the "glutathione miracle" and seen patients with sever Parkinson's disease within one hour be able to stand, walk and move their arms around normally. He has used glutathione extensively in cases with Alzheimer's and other dementias, multiple sclerosis, strokes and ME. Interestingly, glutathione administered this way stops diarrhoea and irritable bowel disease in its tracks.

Chelation is a kind of "elixir of life". For Alzheimer's patients (and their suffering families) it could restore the whole meaning of life.

Good website to visit: BrainRecovery.com. Dr David Perlmutter's book of the same title is also highly recommended (ISBN 0-9635874-1-2)

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