Neurodegeneration Prevention, Stabilization and Recovery Programs
Neurodegeneration is the umbrella term for the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, including death of neurons. The most common neurodegenerative diseases are:
Weakened Immune systems
Neurodegenerative conditions are becoming more common throughout the world. They can begin up to 20 years prior to symptom onset in many cases. Unfortunately, these conditions go undiagnosed for years and commonly are not diagnosed until symptoms worsen or it is too late for treatment.
What causes Neurodegeneration?
There are multiple causes of neurodegeneration. The most common causes one or more of the following chronic hypoperfusion (reduced blood flow) to the brain, systemic inflammation, past concussions, CIRS from subclinical infections/toxins, chronic hormone dysregulation, chronic excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates, chronic nutrient deficiencies, prolonged chronic stress, etc. There is a common theme in the neuro-pathophysiology of these conditions, and all involve neurological structures and pathological metabolic processes.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD):
The area of the brain involved in Parkinson’s Disease is called the midbrain which specifically affects the speed of movement, tone of muscles, blood flow and creates tremors of the head and limbs. Some of the hallmark findings in a history and examination of those at risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s Disease is a long history of constipation, loss of smell in one or both nostrils and a decreased arm swing on one side that is not related to an arm injury. Most commonly cognition is spared, but movement is greatly affected in PD.
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.
Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings, and relationships.
There are seven stages of dementia:
No cognitive impairment
Very mild cognitive decline
Mild cognitive decline
Moderate cognitive decline
Moderately severe cognitive decline
Severe cognitive decline
Very severe cognitive decline
It may take 10-20 years of brain degeneration before enough symptoms are present. Because of this fact, it’s important to start getting properly evaluated in your 40’s so you can be proactive in slowing down or reversing neurodegeneration to prevent or delay the onset of dementia
Types of Dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease most common form of dementia. Although not all causes of Alzheimer’s disease are known, experts do know that a small percentage are related to mutations of three genes, which can be passed down from parent to child. While several genes are probably involved in Alzheimer’s disease, one important gene that increases risk is apolipoprotein E4 (APOE).
Alzheimer’s disease patients have plaques and tangles in their brains. Plaques are clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid, and tangles are fibrous tangles made up of tau protein. It’s thought that these clumps damage healthy neurons and the fibers connecting them.
The area of the brain often involved in Alzheimer’s Disease is the Temporal Lobe and Hippocampus. The Temporal Lobe and Hippocampus is mainly responsible for memory and cognition. Memory loss involving who people are, the time and place of appointments and events, as well as remembering self-care (turning off an oven, hygiene, etc.) are very common symptoms of AD. Some reports have shown that early signs of Alzheimer’s can be insomnia, depression, and minor memory problems.
Young onset dementia under age 65 is an uncommon form of dementia that affects people younger than age 65. About 5% to 6% of people with Alzheimer’s disease develop symptoms before age 65. So, if 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, around 300,000 to 360,000 people have the young-onset form of the disease. Most people with young-onset Alzheimer’s develop symptoms of the disease when they are between 30 and 60 years old.
For most people with young-onset Alzheimer’s, the cause is not related to any single genetic mutation. Less commonly, young-onset Alzheimer’s can result from mutations in one of three genes (APP, PSEN1 or PSEN2), which can potentially be passed on to other family members. Having a parent or grandparent who also developed young-onset Alzheimer’s can be a clue suggesting one of these gene changes.
Together, these three genes are present in less than 1% of all people with Alzheimer’s but in about 11% of people with young-onset Alzheimer’s. If you have a genetic mutation in one of those three genes, you may develop Alzheimer’s before age 65.
It’s important to understand that a family history of Alzheimer’s disease does not necessarily mean that there is a gene mutation present in an individual or family. A lack of family history also doesn’t mean that someone won’t develop young-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is possible to develop young-onset Alzheimer’s disease from causes other than changes in these three genes. Genetic testing for these mutations is available
Vascular Dementia second most common form of dementia This type of dementia is caused by damage to the vessels that supply blood to your brain. Blood vessel problems can cause strokes or affect the brain in other ways, such as by damaging the fibers in the white matter of the brain.
The most common signs of vascular dementia include difficulties with problem-solving, slowed thinking, and loss of focus and organization. These tend to be more noticeable than memory loss.
Dementia with Lewy bodies third most common dementia. Lewy bodies are abnormal balloon like clumps of protein that have been found in the brains of people with Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. This is one of the more common types of progressive dementia.
Common signs and symptoms include acting out one’s dreams in sleep, seeing things that aren’t there (visual hallucinations), and problems with focus and attention. Other signs include uncoordinated or slow movement, tremors, and rigidity (parkinsonism).
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) This is a group of diseases characterized by the breakdown of nerve cells and their connections in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These are the areas generally associated with personality, behavior, and language. Common symptoms affect behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, and language and movement.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) people experience memory and thinking problems early-stage brain degeneration
Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) rare form affecting vision, AKA Benson’s Syndrome
Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) damage to parts of the brain that control our language, personality, emotions, and behavior
My treatment approach to neurodegenerative disorders like PD and Dementia is to address the underlying metabolic and circulation dysfunction, activate the regions of the brain found to be faulty during the examination and to promote improved brain-gut connectivity to hopefully reduce or slow down the progression of the disease. In addition I work with the spouse and family to participate in the recovery process and also address the traumatic stress of loving, care taking and living with someone with brain impairment.
I have been successful in utilizing these applications; however, we must note that all disease processes are different and not all cases are candidates for care.
When you’re ready to positively change the trajectory of your health, call 941-923-0283 to schedule a brief phone consultation to see if I can be of help to you and if we are a good fit for working together.