image of Alzheimer’s disease brain and normal brain

Alzheimer’s Brain and Normal Brain

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in the United States and the 6th leading cause of death, more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Dementia, broken into it’s word parts, according to Dictionary.com, means the removal, of one’s mind. You lose your “mentia”. Your mind. It’s different than just forgetting stuff. You forget where you put your keys, or your glasses on occasion or maybe your purse or cell phone deliberately hide themselves from you. This forgetfulness, we all experience, occurs most often when we are tired or under stress. It is annoying, but not serious.

It annoys us so frequently that Apps are coming to our rescue. There’s Tile, Lapa, Proximo and FindMyStuff, etc., helping when we finally admit, I don’t remember where all my stuff is. Fortunately, it’s not Alzheimer’s. Thank God.

We do have so much to keep track of a little help here and there is wonderful. Attach a tile, a beacon, a tracker device and you are on your way. The technology is new, not the idea.

image of brain activity using words

Your Brain Is Amazing

Even “low tech” yellow sticky notes would work. If you just wrote down where you left your wallet before you walked way. But, if you lose the sticky note… you understand.

Then there is the serious aspect of forgetfulness. When it doesn’t just last for a few minutes and it’s no longer just the physical, tangible, pick it up and hold it in your hand stuff. Now it’s the junk stored in your own mind that gets lost. And apps won’t help.

When it starts to interfere with your everyday life, when it starts to become noticeable to friends and family, it’s time to see your doctor, even if it’s too late to stop it.

2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures-Youtube

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease-Dementia

Dementia is “losing your mind.” The nerve cells in your brain are slowly destroyed over a period of years, starting decades before symptoms are evident. Genetic variants can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and can result in devastating Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease (before age 65) in 4%-5% of the cases. Other genetic variants seem to be protective and reduce your chances of Alzheimer’s disease development. That is the luck of the draw, since selecting your parents wisely—is impossible.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease

It is an accumulation of a peptide or protein building block called beta-amyloid in the brain. It is viewed as the primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease. In essence the brain is poisoned by the accumulation with eventual destruction and shrinkage of brain volume. And with that destruction comes behavior changes and memory loss.

Image of Cross section of a healthy brain

Cross section of a healthy brain

Image of the Cross section of an Alzheimer's brain

Cross section of an Alzheimer’s brain

Many different factors are currently being researched. What causes an increase in the quantity of beta-amyloid being produced? What keeps beta-amyloid, once produced, from being shuttled out of the brain, reducing accumulation?

Alzheimer’s Symptoms-How Do I Recognize It?

I can best relate Alzheimer’s symptoms by relating a story from an earlier time in my career.

As a young dentist, I practiced in a retirement community in Northern California, for a period of time. I enjoyed the relationships I had with many healthy retired individuals. But one particular situation comes to mind when I think about what can happen when Alzheimer’s disease affected a mother and then her daughter.

I saw Agnes as a patient only sporadically over the years, most frequently with a dental emergency behind the call to the office. Agnes was in her early 90’s with arthritis and many of the symptoms of “old age”. She seemed to have lost her motivation to care for herself very well.

Short Term Memory Loss

She had difficulties with short term memory and also experienced difficulties with speech, both of which are symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Due to her arthritis she did not venture out of her home very often, even with her daughter Evelyn’s assistance.

The last time I saw Agnes, she did not recall meeting me before or recognizing the office as one where she had been several times. She was clearly disoriented. Most of the time Agnes was pleasant but had occasional bouts of crabbiness as we provided care for her.

Eventually, I only saw the daughter. I did not recognize specific symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at the time, but realized that after Agnes’s passing that Evelyn was beginning to show similar symptoms.

Unable To Provide Self Care

It was more than a year after Agnes passed that Evelyn was found wandering in the snow just along the side the road after midnight. She was dressed only in her nightgown and slippers, walking near a creek that was known for prowling mountain lions.

Within two days relatives were notified and they arranged for Evelyn to be moved to a nursing facility, as she was unable to care for herself any longer. I had no idea how much she had deteriorated, until spring.

After the snow melted, Evelyn’s single story house was being readied for sale. It was not the typical clean the carpets and put up a little fresh paint preparation for sale. The house was virtually destroyed.

Agnes and Evelyn had been living with two small dogs that apparently had not been out of the house for over a year. You can imagine how the house looked and smelled. I felt badly that no one had recognized the conditions they were living in. I recall that Evelyn lived less than a year after she was moved to the nursing facility which fell in within the life expectancy after diagnosis.

Alzheimer's_disease_brain_comparison

Causes Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Environmental pollutants are also considered likely contributors to Alzheimer’s disease. Metals, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and aluminum have strong to weak association with causing Alzheimer’s disease. Mercury, is a material in use currently and in the past for “silver” dental fillings. A large number of men and women of retirement age today have had long term exposure to mercury fillings during their lives.

Current treatment efforts that have shown success reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease like dementia, are focused on reducing the bio-accumulation of various toxicants. Since encouraging results have been obtained with lead exposure symptoms, years after the initial exposure, it gives hope to other victims. The successful case mentioned chelation using DMSA, EDTA and skin depuration. Skin depuration is toxin removal by way of encouraging sweating. Your skin is a large organ of potential detoxification.

Occupational pesticide exposure has also shown to have a significant association with Alzheimer’s disease in males.

Another area of interest for researchers is the consequences of using nano particles to aid in the delivery of drugs, as a potential causative agent for Alzheimer’s disease changes in laboratory animals.

Gum Disease Causes Alzheimer’s Disease

Gum problems that are so prevalent in the general population are also a cause of Alzheimer’s disease. We have known for a number of years that infected gums raise the level of circulating inflammation-creating chemicals. As these chemicals bathe the brain and other organs they ramp up the damage that occurs

The thickened plaque layers of beta-amyloid deposits found in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease victims, have been found to harbor spirochetes a bacteria associated with periodontal disease and Lyme disease. DNA fragments in spirochete biofilm [slime] also suggest that spirochetes contain a substance that causes beta-amyloid production. The gum disease spirochetes and inflammation producing dental plaque are two things your holistic dentist can help you with.

The gum disease-Alzheimer’s disease connection is a critical one that must not be ignored as more than 5,000,000 Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. [alz.org Facts and Figures]

Time To Take Action

Don’t let Alzheimer’s disease ruin your future. See your holistic dentist and have any signs of gum disease evaluated and treated. You may be harboring deadly spirochetes and not even know it. If you still have mercury laden “silver” fillings, have a discussion with your holistic dentist about bio-accumulation of toxic materials and how they can create serious health consequences.

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