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Experiencing pushback from the academic community, Dr Bredesen Discusses the cyclical nature of the ever changing field of mental health, and how the next generations will continue creating positive change. His new book “The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s: How Patients Recovered Life and Hope in Their Own Words” is a collection of stories written by people that not only survived Alzheimer’s disease, but are thriving.
For more information on Dr. Bredesen’s new book, The End of Alzheimer’s Program, visit https://www.amazon.com/End-Alzheimers-Program-Protocol-Cognition-ebook/dp/B081Y3QF4C
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like Brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
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Welcome back. We are still here with our friend and colleague, Dr. Dale Bredesen, talking about his program and his just groundbreaking work in Alzheimer’s on his program, the End of Alzheimer’s. He’s got a new book coming out in August, The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s. So exciting. In the last episode, I got super excited, because you’re speaking my language now. We were talking about diet and how ketosis really helps the brain. I just know from a day to day level with my energy, with my memory, with how I feel in general, what I can get done in a day when Ia cut out any kind of simple carbs, I just feel significantly better. I know we’re going to move on on the topic, but I just think this is such an important point. That is something you can do today. That is something you have control of today. You can put your body into this light state of ketosis and you just focus on eating healthy fats. I don’t want to minimize that.
Dr. Dale Bredesen:
Absolutely. We found both with the [inaudible [00:01:50] and the book, in the book, there are seven people who were all told they had Alzheimer’s disease. Many of them had very positive family histories, were having trouble at work, were having trouble with their children, were having trouble doing so many different things, and were told by their doctors, “You’re getting Alzheimer’s. There’s nothing you can do about it.” Then they started with the protocol that we developed and we interact with them over time, and then they started getting better and better. Very exciting. They wrote these wonderful stories, wonderful first person stories about what it feels like to have cognitive decline, how you manage day to day that we all hear repeatedly, and then what it feels like to begin to notice.
Often you hear, at first you don’t believe it. Like, “Wait a minute, am I really better? Am I really finding it easier to navigate around my neighborhood? Am I really getting more ability to remember these various things, phone numbers and addresses and things like that? Then, wait a minute, I’m back.” Then they start to kind of feel like, “Wow, I’m really back.” So, it’s very exciting. I have to say, it’s been the thing that I’ve enjoyed the most, is to see people start to get better and write about their own improvement. It is glorious to see this and to see the interaction with their families, and for them to then turn to their children and say, “You don’t have to worry about this problem. Grandfather died of this, mother died of this, I’m now going to do better and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
I love that. I want to just point something out, because when you start to eat clean and you cut some of that stuff out of your diet, we know inflammation is one of the big culprits, right? Inflammation is terrible for your brain. It’s terrible when you’re fighting about Alzheimer’s. [crosstalk [00:03:32] Yeah. So when you cut out processed foods and sugar, and some of the simple carbs we’re talking about, when you do [crosstalk [00:03:42] and you… right, but I’m talking about food right now. So when you talk about these healthy foods, like you feel the inflammation come down quickly. When you jump on the scale and two days later you’re down four pounds, it’s not likely that you lost a bunch of fat. It’s likely that you lost a bunch of inflammation, right? So you’re losing this inflammation. You feel it immediately, and you immediately feel better. That is something you can control today. So I like that.
Absolutely. And I think this is a critical part of this. One message I think is so important for people to understand is please don’t give up. The arsenal, this is what’s changed. We’ve all been told by the experts in the past that there is nothing that you can do. And therefore, if we have just, as you said, Daniel earlier about CTE, that everyone’s told, there’s nothing you can do. And so people will try something, maybe a new program, and then they say, “oh, it’s not working immediately, I’m going to give up”. Please stick with it. The arsenal is huge. You can continue to tweak and tweak and tweak and tweak. And we’re now looking at other neurodegenerative diseases and looking at the unique biochemistry for each one to look at how can we now get these people on the right side of their curve and between all the different things it can be done with. With diet, with exercise, with sleep, with stress, with toxicity, with brain training, with vascular improvement.
All of these things are available now. And things like STEM cells, Plasmalogens, Plasmapheresis. There’s some really interesting work now being done out of UCSF looking at Plasmapheresis in people. So again, one of these things by itself, probably not the cure, but getting the right thing, getting your orchestra tuned up basically has given the best results. Please don’t give up.
So both you and I pioneer a new way of thinking, how have the academic people responded to your work and how have you managed it personally?
Yeah. This is a great point. You know, there’s good news and bad news. So what’s happened is you know that there are the three phases. The first phase is they ignore you. Right? The second phase is they get angry and they fight you. And then the third phase is that they say we’ve known this all along, right?
Yeah I think the second stage they try to kill you right.
Yeah. Okay. That’s fair. Yeah. So we are, the good news is we’re now into the second phase. They’re writing nasty things in Lancet Neurology, for example, you know, it’s never right. You didn’t do enough patients and you didn’t do this and you didn’t do that. So I’m happy to say that they’re very angry and very threatened, but the reality is you and I both know that treating a complex illness with a simple pill makes absolutely no sense. And I do think the pills are going to be very important, but when used appropriately, knowing the biochemistry and addressing the other things. So if you’ve got a roof with 36 holes in it, then in fact the pill is a great way to cover one hole, but it’s not going to do very well unless you cover the other 35. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. And you’ve got to figure out what are the big ones and what are the little ones for each person. So things are changing, but right now, yeah, a lot of marginalization, a lot of anger and yeah, for me personally, I have no question it’s affected my SPECT scan. I have no question it’s affected my Hippocampus, my Amygdala, all of these sorts of things. So yeah, it’s, it’s been painful because a lot of these are my old colleagues, my old friends who are really, really angry. It’s interesting, you know… [crosstalk [00:07:34]
And especially if you get the notoriety, people talk about you, then they get jealous and they get angry because they’re not the ones getting the praise.
But what matters is the patients… [crosstalk [00:07:54] [inaudible [00:07:54]
In 1962, Thomas Kune wrote a great book on the structure of scientific revolution. And he talks about five phases and phase number one is you identify a problem. Like standard of care isn’t working and as a neurologist, seeing patients with Alzheimer’s disease, you’re like this stuff isn’t working. And in fact, if you go on medications like Aricept, they seem to help for a couple of months. And over time, people actually get worse than if they were not on them at all. So step two is people start to fight about what’s the fix and the standard of the status quo. People make small modifications.
Like in my field, the DSM, we now have six versions of it, but it’s really, essentially not changed since DSM three. And then the third one is a new model is born based on experience. Usually not from academic centers, because it’s hard to think outside of the box when you’re inside of the walls of the box. And the fourth one is the most predictable of all the stages and that’s the rejection. Yeah. And then the fifth one, because the guard dies, Max Planck said that, that progress in science happens through funerals. A new generation grows up and it’s accepted. And I absolutely see you’re actually in stage four that you already have the model, right? I mean the Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t work, the traditional treatment, it’s a fraud, if you will. And people are trying to like scramble to go, no, it really is Beta-amyloid. And you have a new model it’s really clear. And now, which is awesome. We don’t hate you, we love you.
And Just have to stay the course and for me, it was always the stories of transformation that kept me going, and I just stopped paying attention to the haters. And as long as I don’t pay attention to them, I sleep just fine. If when I engage, I mean, I’m really engaged because how do you know, unless you look, are you insane? I’m a psychiatrist. So I know how to diagnose insanity and not wanting more information, that’s insane. So, but you know, I don’t put myself in this situation often to get angry.
Great point and one of my very favorite sayings actually came from a rabbi who said, you are not expected to complete your life’s work during your lifetime. Neither are you excused from it. [crosstalk [00:11:18] When you know, we’re all fighting the good fight. And now I’m just about to turn 70. And so I’m thinking, Hey, this is going to go on long after I’m gone. If we can do the best we can to make the major neurodegenerative diseases preventable and treatable, then I will be very happy that people are doing better.
Because this, as you know, this has been the area of greatest biomedical therapeutic failure, people dying of ALS, Lewy Body Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, just go on and on… PSP. You know, these are horrible, horrible diseases. That when we all trained, we’re considered untreatable. So we’re making some major inroads into these and it’s just wonderful to see. I hope it continues.
By the way your skin looks amazing. I cannot believe you were about to be 70.
Thank you very much, I appreciate that. [crosstalk [00:12:11] All the things that you guys are teaching me. Thank you.
We have been with our friend, Dr. Dale Bredesen. We are grateful for his work, for his friendship. We feel like we’re on the same path. With a better brain always comes a better life, with a better brain comes a better memory, comes a better mood, comes better relationships, better money, better sense of meaning and purpose. And his book, The End of Alzheimer’s, is just brilliant. There’s not one thing I disagree with and I’d be like, this is awesome. We recommend it to everyone. And thank you, Dale.
It’s great seeing you again. I’m always thinking of ways we should be working together because we just opened our ninth clinic in Del [inaudible [00:13:03]
It’s so busy and it’s what people want. People want better brains so they can have better lives.
Yes. And it’s an area that is such need. I mean, there’s so many places now that are considered quote centers of excellence that are really centers of non excellence. So in fact, having these places where people can actually go get prevention, get reversal, these are huge. So congratulations on the new center. Always great talking to you guys. There’s so much new, I think this is, you know, the field is continuing to evolve. We’re all seeing it in real time, getting better and better results. So very, very enthusiastic about the upcoming years. Thank you so much, Daniel. Thank you so much Tana, always great to see you too.
All right, take care Dale.
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