Brain Recovery Counseling

Brain Recovery Counseling By Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Senior Moments: Nothing to Joke About

Remember when you were in your 20’s. Your body and your brain were at their peak and you wondered about the obvious “dumb mistakes” of people in the older generations. Now, maybe you or someone you love is the one having these “senior moments.”

Thankfully, our brains give us a good deal of warning when they are in the process of decline. It starts out with that “senior moment” when you can’t recall a detail you know that you should have easily thought of. A momentary sense of disorientation, not being able to calculate a tip, read a map, or recall a friend’s name. Initially, it’s easy to hide these deficits. We use more post-it notes and we write things down. We set alarms on our smartphones.

Half of all 85-year-olds have Dementia-But Warnings Start Years Earlier

We hide and deny and apologize for these lapses in brain function because we don’t think there’s anything anyone can do. Mention it to a doctor, and they’ll check a few labs and say it’s just part of aging. DON’T BELIEVE IT–BRAIN DYSFUNCTION IS NOT A NORMAL PART OF AGING and there’s so much you can do to stop the decline. If you’re noticing these things, your brain is actively in the process of cutting the number of neurons it’s supporting. Research has uncovered dozens of factors that drive this process of cutting back and dozens of other factors that can make those neurons grow again–so much growth that it can be measured on an MRI, something neurologists thought was impossible just a few years ago!

Why You Should Never Expect an Effective Drug For Alzheimer’s

The pharmaceutical industry has spent billions on one failed drug approach after another in their pursuit of a pill to stop Alzheimer’s disease. The medical community throughout the 20th century made tremendous advancements by finding single drug agents to treat each diagnosis. But dementia doesn’t have just one cause. The problem most researchers have failed to acknowledge is that each person has a unique set of causes for their brain issues. A one-size-fits-all drug approach can never work to solve the multifactorial brain disease we call dementia.

But Where Drugs Fail, Precision Medicine May Succeed

When you have this much at stake, you need a professional familiar with the most up-to-date research in dementia. You need a comprehensive prevention strategy that targets the specific factors driving brain decline. Here’s what’s involved in stopping the brain’s decline into dementia:

  • Identify and eliminate factors harming the brain:
    • Toxins
    • Nutrient Deficits
    • Inflammation
    • Infections
    • Insulin Resistance
    • Glucose Toxicity
    • And More

  • Identify and incorporate factors that can grow brain cells and improve brain speed:
    • Diet that is mildly ketogenic, anti-inflammatory, and high in phytonutrients
    • Specific Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbal Supplements
    • Physical Activity
    • Brain Exercise Programs
    • Stress Management
    • Sleep Optimization
    • Hormone optimization

Why You Shouldn’t Expect Your Family Doctor to Direct Your Brain Recovery Program

The problem of dementia has been likened to having a barn with 36 holes in the roof. The first step to patching them is finding out which ones are the biggest and then patching every single one.

This requires complex medical testing that is generally not covered by standard insurance. It is just the type of detective work and individualized treatment our current healthcare system was never set up to do. Without formal training and validated treatment protocols, most family physicians will not feel comfortable offering these services.

Medical office visits are only 10 minutes. A family physician treating brain health will barely have enough time to write an order for an MRI, write a referral to a neurologist, and order a couple of standard labs. This is a frustrating situation for providers as well as patients.

Since there is no blockbuster drug involved, drug companies will not be running commercials and sending out legions of representatives to provide physician education. So, it is likely that it will be some years before current research makes its way into standard clinical practice.

What’s the Advantage of a Dietitian Brain Specialist

A dietitian can work with your physician to help make sure dozens of details are taken care of. Busy medical offices will find it very difficult to accommodate complex testing needs. Your success depends on making sure you get all of the pieces of the puzzle working in your favor. You will need specialized testing for toxins, infections, mold, nutrients, genes, and hormones in order to identify all the factors that might be driving brain dysfunction. A brain nutrition specialist can support your physician’s need for technical details. We also help you with all aspects of figuring out a mildly ketogenic, anti-inflammatory diet incorporating intermittent fasting. We can help you find the best sources for meeting your nutrition supplement needs with the right evidence-based supplements at the most effective doses.

What Is at Stake?

When brain deficits start to be noticeable, a person is likely to be in the pre-Alzheimer’s stage called “Mild Cognitive Impairment, MCI”. At this point, the process of decline has likely been going on for more than a decade. It’s time to move into emergency mode. If your house is on fire, you don’t go shopping for a fire extinguisher. Likewise, if you recognize that your brain function is in decline, it should be a wake-up call that everything you and your family hold dear is now at stake. It is up to you to act quickly enough and with all the correct strategies to reverse your cognitive losses while there is still time.

More About the Approach and the Published Evidence

In this video, Dr. Dale Bredesen presents at Cleveland Clinic about his first series of 10 clients. Eight of the 10 clients were able to reverse their brain decline as shown on cognitive tests. One of the 10 had a very significant documented increase in the size of the hippocampus–a part of the brain critical to learning and memory.

More Videos:

  • Dr. Sandrine Thuret presents this TedTalk where she discusses brain regeneration.
  • Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. interviews Dr. Bredesen at his home in this highly academic video.
  • Neurologist, David Perlmutter, MD interviews Dr. Bredesen in his podcast.

These are the published studies for this approach:

The Research Clearly Shows That a Personalized Approach Works

No one is saying there’s a cure for Alzheimer’s. But the new data show that Mild Cognitive Impairment and very early-stage Alzheimer’s should no longer be considered hopeless diseases. Further decline may be prevented or put into remission for many. Larger-scale studies are planned. These will help to verify the results of this new personalized medicine approach to cognitive decline. The pioneer of this new approach, Dr. Dale Bredesen predicts that future generations will look back on Alzheimer’s disease the way we look back on polio and other diseases of the past. For those of us experiencing these “senior moments”, these changes can’t come too soon.

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