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In part two of a series with “The End of Alzheimer’s” author Dr. Dale Bredesen, Dr. Daniel Amen and Bredesen discuss some of the practical takeaways from his book, such as taking an integrative approach and getting the proper testing done, so you can identify areas of excess or deficiencies and balance them with the right diet and supplements.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Dr. Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here, we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warriors Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain.
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Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way Podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hi everybody. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen. Unfortunately, Tana is not with me today. I have a very special guest, Dr. Dale Bredesen, The End of Alzheimer's Disease.
When I turned 50, my doctor wanted me to have a colonoscopy, and I asked him why he didn't want to look at my brain. Wasn't the other end just as important? And 60 minutes just did a piece of Alzheimer's Disease, and the researcher from UCI said she saw a day where everyone would be imaged just like you would have a colonoscopy, and I think that's important. It's a piece of the puzzle, but you know, just like you say in the book, you also need your important lab numbers checked. You need to know what your BMI is. You need to know what your blood pressure is because all of those things are risk factors that steal your mind.
Dr. Bredesen: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more, and it's important to point out, Daniel, that the most important result that we have so far is that when people get better, when we see this reversal, we see this improvement that we've seen it now hundreds of times. There are over 1,000 people on the protocol, so this is no longer just a few people. But here's the most important thing. They sustain their improvement.
As you well know, if you go on a drug, you get a little bump, and then you go right back into decline because you're not getting at what causing the problem. When you get at what's actually causing the problem, you sustain the improvement.
We have people now for five and a half years who have on this. Those are the longest ones, so we'll see as time goes on, but so far, they sustain their improvement. If they go off the program, they get worse within about two weeks. They go back on, they get better again.
So that's the key, and I would certainly agree with you. We should all do things like imaging, but that's only part of the story. Absolutely. You want to know where you stand, and you want to address the very things that are causing the decline.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So let's get really practical for our listeners.
So the podcast is called The Brain Warriors Way because both Tana and I believe you're in a war for the health of your brain. Everywhere you go, someone's trying to shove bad food down your throat that will kill you early. Many people work in mold infested office buildings or mold infected homes. The lack of exercise, the increased incidents of diabetes and obesity. It's frightening, but if you're armed, prepared, and aware so that's our definition of a brain warrior, someone who's armed, prepared, and aware, you can win, what is really the fight of your life to keep your brain healthy for as long as possible.
So, let's talk about the practical take-aways from The End of Alzheimer's Disease. What are things people can do today to protect their minds or even get it back if they think it's headed for trouble?
Dr. Bredesen: Absolutely. So, the key here is that this disease should be a rare disease. As you know, it's now the third leading cause of death in the US. Dementia is the number one cause of death in the UK, so this is a huge and common problem, and it actually should be a rare problem, so we recommend that people actually get their numbers checked, get their cognoscopy, and then you can see.
So if you have a high HSCRP, you have ongoing inflammation, you need to reduce that, and it's not good enough just to say, "I'm going to take an anti-inflammatory." What you have to find out is what's causing your inflammation. Is it part of metabolic syndrome? Is it part of a response to mycotoxin, to mold-produced toxins as you mentioned? Is it part of a response to a specific pathogen?
So you need to understand that and of course your practitioner can help you with that, especially if they're trained to do so.
If you have a high-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Although, let me just interrupt you. Most people's practitioners are not trained in functional medicine or integrative medicine.
Dr. Bredesen: That's exactly right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so it's very important to work with someone who has a sense you're a whole person, you're an integrated person, and if you have depression, it doesn't not mean you have a Prozac deficiency.
Dr. Bredesen: Exactly.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, getting the right of help ... We also, we did an interesting study here where we screened 50 consecutive patients who were not taking fish oil. We did an omega-3 index on them, and 49 of them had low or suboptimal levels. It's stunning. And that's another cause of inflammation.
Dr. Bredesen: Absolutely. Of course, as you know, most of us have two high omega-6 and too low omega-3. So yes, part of this is we are giving ourselves this industrial-associated disease, industry-associated disease. We're living in a toxic world. We're living in a world that has depleted soils. We're living in a world where most of us have too low omega-3s, so we are to some extent giving ourselves Alzheimer's disease or at least very high risk for Alzheimer's disease.
So what we need to do is ferret out all the things that are contributing. So, as you said, what can you do practically? Check out your HSCRP and address that. Check out your fasting insulin. If your fasting insulin's over five, you're developing insulin resistance, and that is a contributor to dementia, and you can address that. Check out if you have exposure to metals. If you want to make more amyloid, give yourself plenty of copper or mercury, and you will make more amyloid.
So you want to understand whether you've got those exposures-
Dr. Daniel Amen: What heavy metal test do you like? Do you like the Challenge test or Doctor's Data hair analysis? What do you use in the protocol?
Dr. Bredesen: Yeah, great question, and I know people always talk about specific, do you want to advertise for somebody. Well, I happen to like the Quicksilver approach myself. But that's not to say that Doctor's Data isn't wonderful. It's not to say the Provocation ... I know Mark Hymen and others really swear by Provocation analysis which is great. I think that's fine too.
What I like about Quicksilver is simply that it does two things. Number one, it gives you the inorganic and the organic, so that you can tell how much of this is inorganic, how much of this is organic. Is it more because of seafood. Is this more because of amalgams, and then it also will give you multiple other metals so you can ask, okay, what about all these other things, and so as you know, years ago, the claim was aluminum was a player. Then that's kind of been poo-pooed over the years. Well, what's really interesting, Dr. Joe Pazorno now is doing some very interesting work, and his results are suggesting that in fact, aluminum may indeed by a contributor in some people.
So I think part of the problem has been that people have been looking for one cause, so they'll say, "Well, look, the majority of these people, it's not mercury." No. Not in the majority, but in a specific minority, it's a very important contributor.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And it's very high in a lot of the patients that we see here at Amen Clinics.
So, Quicksilver is a blood test that people can order?
Dr. Bredesen: Yeah, so Quicksilver actually is a tri-test, so it does the combination of hair, blood and urine, and with that combination, it can give you data on how good of an excretor are you, for example. And is this mostly inorganic or organic. So that's why I like that particular one, but again, there are others that are excellent. But whatever you use, find out where you stand, and when you prove that, the most important thing, when you get rid of that exposure, you do better.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We actually had Dr. Pazorno on our podcast, and I read his book when I was writing Memory Rescue, and it was so good. I mean, the Toxic Solution is just an outstanding book, and I know aluminum is controversial, but why would you ever put controversial things on your body? It's like if there's a question about it ... I mean, you know, it a lot of people's minds, pesticides are controversial, and ... I mean, not in my mind, and probably not in your mind, but it's like if people are really fighting about this stuff, and you have an alternative, why not use the alternative? It just seems to make more sense.
Dr. Bredesen: Absolutely.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So we've talked about know your important numbers. Something I say all the time, you'll like this. Peter Drucker once said, "You can't change what you don't measure."
Dr. Bredesen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Clearly we do that with scans, but we also do it with the lab tests that we order, and I think people should sort of get them every year, and your doctor will complain, and I'm like, well, your doctor's not your mother, and your doctor's not your father. He or she should be your partner in getting well, and the earlier you get after this stuff, if it's trouble, the better for you.
So know your important numbers, and you began to also talk about diet sort of matters. That what you put in your body becomes your body.
Dr. Bredesen: You know Daniel, as your biochemistry goes, so goes your cognition, and as a scientist, if you had told me 10 or 15 years ago that I would be telling people that they should eat differently, and that they should do meditation and have eight hours of sleep, and these sorts of things, I would have laughed. I thought we were going to get one specific region of one molecule that was going to hold all the cards when it comes to Alzheimer's disease, hold the secret to Alzheimer's, and that was wrong. This is a complex chronic illness, and it turns out, as you eluded to, diet is absolutely huge, and getting yourself in mild ketosis, very helpful for these people. When they get better, when we see them improve with their cognition, they typically achieve mild ketosis, they typically get rid of their insulin resistance and convert to insulin sensitivity. They are typically having a largely plant-based diet that is meat as a condiment. So all these things that actually do change your biochemistry are huge.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So important. So, then, like me, you're not a fan of sugar and foods that turn to sugar quickly like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, sugar.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I used to be a fan of the Atkin's diet until I realized, there's just not enough medicine in that food, that plants have medicine in them, and so the more colors you can get, the better, but clearly, I had a father-in-law that died with diabetes and lost his mind in the process, and a couple of limbs and his eyesight, and I just watched how devastating it was, and so I'm always freaked out about my own blood sugar level, and try to keep it under 90, my fasting blood sugar level just so that I don't have the same fate.
And some people, they change their behavior because they want something good. Most people change their behavior because they don't want something bad.
Dr. Bredesen: Right. You know, it's interesting to me that human beings did not evolve to handle that much sugar, the amounts. We've made these huge assumptions that it's okay, processed food, how bad can it be? But it turns out that this actually doesn't fit our biochemistry, so you could jump out of a second or third floor window every day. Many days, you wouldn't break your leg, but you're not constructed to jump out of a third floor window, and you ultimately would probably destroy your bones, and that's the way it is with sugar. We're simply not made to handle the amour that we are exposed to each day, and no question, it is killing your brain.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Thanks everybody. You're listening to The Brain Warriors Way, Dale Bredesen. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
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