- Keeping the brain busy may help slow down the progression of the disease. This means keeping active and intellectually involved, as well as getting plenty of exercise. Alzheimer Recommendations.
- Eat a well-balanced diet of natural foods and follow the supplementation program recommended above.
- Have a hair analysis to rule out the possibility of heavy metal intoxication as the cause of symptoms.
- Include plenty of fiber in your diet. Try oat bran or rice bran. Alzheimer Recommendations
- Have allergy testing performed to rule out environmental and/or food allergies.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarette smoke, processed foods, and environmental toxins, especially metals such as aluminum and mercury. Smoking more than doubles the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer Recommendations.
- Do not drink tap water, as it may contain aluminum. Consume steam-distilled water only and drink at least eight glasses a day.
- If you are involved in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Seek counseling and support from the various agencies and groups, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, that are trained to help. Alzheimer Recommendations. They can teach how to handle difficult behaviors. With aggressive behaviors, for example—whether name-calling, shouting, or physical aggression toward the caregiver—understanding why the behavior occurred is the key.
Some tips from the Alzheimer’s Association:
• Think about what happened just before the reaction that may have “triggered” the behavior.
• Look for the feelings behind the words. Alzheimer Recommendations
• Be positive, reassuring, and speak slowly, with a soft tone.
• Use music, massage, and/or exercise to help soothe the person.
Memory loss and confusion can cause a person with Alzheimer’s disease to become suspicious of those around him or her. If this occurs, try not to take offense or argue. But rather offer a simple answer or try to divert the person’s attention to another activity. For all caregivers, take time to care for yourself. The aging process is shown to increase according to telomere measurements in the caregivers of spouses who have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer Recommendations. Make arrangements to leave your spouse to engage in things you like to do. Be sure to keep up your own diet and exercise regimen.
Alzheimer’s disease considerations
- Using your brain, remaining busy, writing, reading. And learning new things are important overall factors in staying sharp and preventing mental disorders.
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol), an antiseizure medication, can ease Alzheimer’s disease–related anger and hostility, according to one study. Aggression was markedly reduced in three out of four of the Alzheimer’s disease patients in the study.
- Recent studies show that the progression of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed or even reversed by reducing free radical accumulation through the use of antioxidants.
- The herbs balm and sage are being researched for possible beneficial effects on brain chemistry. Balm appears to simulate the neurological receptors that bind acetylcholine. Sage contains compounds that are cholinesterase inhibitors. Current drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease are typically cholinesterase inhibitors.
Cautions: Do not use sage if you suffer from any type of seizure disorder, or are pregnant or nursing.
- Preliminary studies performed on rats at the University of Washington in Seattle indicate that cat’s claw, when mixed with other herbal extracts (such as ginkgo, gotu kola, and rosemary), inhibits the buildup of plaques in the brain. Alzheimer Recommendations.
Other Alzheimer’s Considerations
- Some experts distinguish between a rapidly progressing form of Alzheimer’s disease that begins earlier in life (usually between the ages of thirty-six and forty-five) and a more gradual form that develops in people around the ages of sixty-five or seventy.
- The signs of alcohol abuse and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be very similar. For example, actress Rita Hayworth, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was at first thought to be an alcoholic.
- Research studies supported by the Alzheimer’s Association and studies done at the Department of Research at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. Found that liquid aged garlic extract (Kyolic) might prove to be useful in the improvement of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Kyolic protected the cells from toxic effects of beta-amyloid.
See also: “Alzheimer Nutrients and Herbs“
More Alzheimer’s Considerations
- Regular exercise throughout adulthood can reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Activities associated with reduced risk include biking, walking, swimming, and golf. Two studies in major medical journals showed that walking three times a day improved cognitive function and reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Those already with the disease should continue this sort of exercise program for as long as possible. Alzheimer Recommendations.
- Researchers at the University of California—Davis questioned the caregivers of eighty-eight elderly people, half of whom had either Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, about their eating habits. Half of the people with Alzheimer’s disease had such a strong desire for sweets that their access to these foods had to be restricted.
- No treatment can stop or reverse Alzheimer’s disease. However, for people in the early and middle stages of the disease drug therapy using cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), or galantamine (Razadyne) may alleviate some symptoms for a limited period of time. These are the first line of defense for drug therapies. They prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger important for learning and memory. A new class of drug introduced in 2003, which is currently the only available neuroprotective therapy, is memantine (Namenda), which has been approved for treatment of moderate to severe cases. However, this drug does not appear to be the “silver bullet” everyone has been looking for and, indeed, might only offer some slight relief to those patients already in the last stages of the disease. This drug regulates the activity of glutamate, a different messenger involved in learning and memory.
Alzheimer’s research and recommendations
- Because the beta-amyloid plaques appear to be in large measure the culprits behind Alzheimer’s disease damage, if a way could be developed to clear them out, or prevent their buildup altogether, the disease could be managed. Researchers at Lilly Research Laboratories and Elan Pharmaceuticals have discovered that certain monoclonal antibodies bind to beta-amyloid and clear it from the brain. In animal experiments, a treatment with monoclonal antibody M266 both cleared beta-amyloid from the brains of the subjects and reversed some existing memory problems.
- A research study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that mice modified to lack the enzyme insulysin (which degrades insulin) had did levels of beta-amyloid 1.5 times greater in their brains than did control mice. Because insulysin is so closely tied to insulin and glucose metabolism. And because there appears to be a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, scientists hope that modifying insulysin activity or some other aspects of insulin metabolism may assist in management of the disease.
- Research reported in the journal Biochemistry indicated possible therapeutic potential of anti-beta-amyloid proteolytic antibody light chain fragments. These fragments are able to zero in on the beta-amyloid and reduce its toxicity, and they can be introduced into the parts of the brain that contain heavy concentrations of the plaque by nonintrusive methods.
The drug appears to have reduced the amount of beta-amyloid plaques in one patient, and a significant number of those treated did develop antibodies to beta-amyloid, and showed little or no cognitive decline as compared to those who failed to develop the antibodies. This study has encouraged researchers to try different approaches based on the underlying theory because there did appear to be a positive effect caused by the drug. This avenue, immune therapy, shows much promise, and may be a path to an effective treatment in the future.
- Preliminary trials suggest that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) may benefit those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. In a study conducted by Austrian researcher and physician Dr. George Birkmayer and colleagues, seventeen patients with Alzheimer-type dementia were treated with NADH for eight to twelve weeks. The patients’ cognitive function improved as measured by two standard tests.