Have You Had Your Cognoscopy?

10/08/20

Does Alzheimer’s Disease or memory loss run in your family?

Do you sometimes experience forgetfulness, brain fog, finding words, name recall, forgetting key details of a conversation, scheduled events and want to discretely find out if this is normal or what you can do to make improvements in your brain health or give you the best chance to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? If so, we encourage you to read on to learn more about the impact of cognitive decline and discover how to improve brain health, memory and potentially stop the process of Alzheimer’s Disease in its tracks.

Cognitive decline and specifically, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is one of the most significant health threats faced in the United States. Likewise, it also appears in other westernized countries and is becoming a worldwide epidemic as an expected 89.28 million people globally are expected to be affected with AD by 2050.  In 2018, 5.7 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s. Moreover, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death.  Between 2000 and 2015 deaths from heart disease declined by 11% while deaths from AD increased by 123%.  1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and the disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

As disheartening as these statistics are to those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, we must also acknowledge what it means for those potentially being put in the position of providing care to them. For instance, if you live to be in your mid-80s and are fortunately not affected yourself by Alzheimer’s Disease, then you are likely going to be a caregiver. Not surprisingly, studies consistently suggest that caregiver stress and often depression appears to negatively impact caregivers cognitive testing. Significant predictors of decreased caregiver cognitive testing performance include:

  • Increased levels of perceived stress
  • Loss of sleep
  • Decreased levels of perceived social support
  • Decreased levels of self-rated health
  • Increased number of years of caregiving
  • Being female

Most of these risks, many of us can already identify with. 

New research suggests that the development of Alzheimer’s begins 20 or more years before any noticeable symptoms arise, allowing for a substantial window of time for intervention and prevention. With advancing technology and further research, there is potential to decrease the prevalence of Alzheimer’s to a much lower level by declaring war on this disease and optimizing your health to play the cards in your favor. 

Cognoscopy

Of widely discussed preventative measures, Dr. Dale Bredesen’s coined “cognoscopy,” can prove efficacious at stopping Alzheimer’s development in its tracks. Developed by Dr. Bredesen, author of the book The End of Alzheimer’s, the cognoscopy is a series of screening tests that aim to assess the risk of Alzheimer’s development and identify the factors contributing to an individual’s cognitive decline to correct those abnormalities. Blood tests, genetic tests, mental status exams, and MRIs are used to detect cognitive decline in its earliest stages, determine potential causes and prevent its progression.

After decades of researching the disease, Dr. Bredesen came to the conclusion that there are 36 identifiable causes, or “holes” of Alzheimer’s that must be addressed holistically in order to provide successful treatment and prevention. Previously believed to be irreversible, Dr. Bredesen suggests that the disease may be both reversed and prevented through the repair and proper maintenance of these 36 potential issues.

According to Dr. Bredesen’s research, all adults 45 or older, especially those with close relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, should be recommended a cognoscopy to determine their risk for development as well as to ensure preventative treatment is implemented as early as possible. With these screening tests to detect early signs of the disease, earlier diagnosis will be made possible and with it, better outcomes for patients.

Other Preventative Measures

Although “cognoscopy” has yet to be acknowledged as an approved Alzheimer’s detection procedure, the evidence strongly suggests that early detection of cognitive decline leads to better prognosis in patients. Other methods of optimizing brain health should be recommended to all individuals, and especially patients at risk of Alzheimer’s development.

Exercise is the number one lifestyle habit for increasing brain function and should be encouraged in all patients looking to improve brain health. Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet has proven to improve cognitive performance as research suggests that inflammation compromises proper blood flow and undermines brain function. Furthermore, eating healthy fats daily, including omega-3 fatty acids which have been positively associated with cognitive function, has been shown to improve the health of brain cell membranes. Avoiding artificial sweeteners, gluten, refined and processed foods, and other neurological damaging foods has proven to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s development.

Research in the field of Alzheimer’s disease treatment is promising; the identification of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s is enabling earlier detection of unnoticeable symptoms and accelerating the development of new therapies. While studies on the effects of cognoscopy on the incidence and outcomes of the disease are limited, implementing certain lifestyle choices such as physical activity and diet may help support brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s until further research is conducted.

To schedule or learn more about Peak Performance & Prevention, Cognoscopy screen and Brain Health offerings, please reach out to us or talk to us at your next appointment!

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