The brain has 100 billion specialized nerve cells called neurons.. Each nerve cell communicates with many others to form networks. Nerve cell networks have special jobs. Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell. Still others tell our muscles when to move. In Alzheimer’s disease, as in other types of dementia, increasing numbers of brain cells deteriorate and die.
Take the Brain Tour to learn more about how the brain works and how Alzheimer’s disease affects it.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
There can be memory loss that disrupts daily life. This common sign of Alzheimer’s includes forgetting important dates, events and recently learned information over and over, and relying on memory aids such as notes. Age related change is sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.
There can be a mental decline and difficulty thinking and understanding. This can be confusion, delusion and disorientation. Forgetting the right words to use calling a watch a hand-clock, etc. Age related is sometimes forgetting the right word.
Planning and problem solving challenges. They can take a long time to complete familiar tasks. There can be an inability to do simple math or inability to recognize common things.
Behavior can change: A person can become aggressive, or can be agitated, irritable, meaningless repetition of words, personality changes, lack of restraint, wandering off and getting lost. Person can be angry, apathetic, general discontent, lonely or have mood swings. They can become depressed, have hallucinations or become paranoid.
The person can loss their appetite or become restless.
They can lose the ability to combine muscle movement and can have jumbled speech.
The role of plaques and tangles
Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles are believed to be damaging and killing nerve cells. Plaques and tangles were among the abnormalities that Dr. Alois Alzheimer saw when he first named the disease, although he called them different names.
Plaques build up between nerve cells. They contain deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid (BAY-tuh AM-uh-loyd).
Tangles Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau (rhymes with “wow”). Tangles form inside dying cells.
Though most people develop some plaques and tangles as they age, those with Alzheimer’s tend to develop far more.
The plaques and tangles tend to form in a predictable pattern, beginning in areas important in learning and memory and then spreading to other regions.
Scientists are not absolutely sure what role plaques and tangles play in Alzheimer’s disease. Most experts believe they somehow block communication among nerve cells and disrupt activities that cells need to survive.
Factors likely to cause Alzheimer’s include heavy metal poisoning, environmental influences, genetics, hormone imbalances, impaired blood flow, and nutritional deficiencies.
Here is an interesting article on Alzheimers as Diabetes of the Brain
What can be done:
Drink more vegetable and fruit juices: particularly vegetable juices since they have less fructose. These juices have tons of beneficial antioxidants.
Minimize eating sugars & carbs:
Why would eating lots of sweets and carbohydrates increase your risk of dementia? Well, there are three scientific reasons:
Reason 1: Sugar dramatically increases your metabolism, and high rates of metabolism become a major source of free radical production which damage your cells and impair their function.)
Reason 2: High levels of sugar in your body cause the sugar to react with various critical proteins, including enzymes that repair DNA damage caused by free radicals.
Reason 3: Continued high sugar consumption prevents your cells from absorbing the sugar needed to produce energy — a condition called insulin resistance. Another recent study found a high incidence of insulin resistance in those with Alzheimer’s dementia. The worst form of sugar is high Fructose corn syrup.
Therapy with B Vitamins such as B6, folic acid, and B12 (methylcobalamin) that lower homocysteine levels. It is thought that a high homocysteine level in the brain causes neuronal damage leading to progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
People who eat an average of 180 mg or more a day of DHA, a fatty acid found in fish oils,have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, compared with people who consume less DHA, according to epidemiologic data collected in the Framingham Heart Study. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may protect cognitive function in patients with mild, early stage AD.
Exposure to sunlight in the morning and sleep pattern restoration
Other things that might help:
Acetyl-L-carnitine protects against amyloid-beta neurotoxicity and may be helpful in combination with medical drugs, if that is chosen to be used. The dose should not be more than 100 to 300 mg a day a few times a week. You can find a Acetyl L-Carnitine/ Alpha Lipoic Acid combo here
Use of ginkgo biloba should certainly be considered.
Blocking the breakdown of acetylcholine with supplements such as huperzine.
Improving blood flow to brain cells
Mood improvement through nutrients and herbs
Drinking herbal teas, including green tea
Building Brain Health:
We always recommend you take the approach of building health.
“We need to shift our focus from treating disease to generating health…” Hippocrates (AMA”The Father of Medicine” 460 BC – 380 BC)
Here is an article about Protecting Memory and Enhancing Brain Function
Recommended for Brain Health
Brain Cell Support Plus™ was designed by Hyla Cass, MD, to support optimal brain health, mental focus and mood.
In addition to Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) Brain Cell Support Plus contains Cognizin®, a potent brain-health nutrient providing acetylcholine, which is clinically shown to support mental energy, focus, attention and recall.*
Brain Cell Support Plus also provides Phosphatidylserine, DMAE and two well-supported brain-supporting botanicals – Ginkgo Biloba and Gotu Kola – to support healthy neurotransmitter production, circulation and mood.*
Additionally, Dr. Cass is now including two additional natural compounds– Huperzine A (from the Chinese club moss Huperzia serrata) and Vinpocetine (from the periwinkle plant) to aid in supporting memory and cerebral blood-flow.
Learn more about Brain Cell Support
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