Oh dear…those poor MDs – they just keep getting kicked over and over again.

Apparently, upwards of 50% of Alzhemier’s diagnosed patients were found to be misdiagnosed when given an autopsy. (The Lancet, 1981; 1: 824-7).  Now not everyone gets an autopsy – in fact, most don’t.  So I wonder what the real figures are.

Let’s take a brief look at why.

  • 1) There are a wide number of dementias and even wider number of causes
  • 2) Dementia can be defined as a group of symptoms which manifest as memory loss and/or the decline of intellectual abilities that impact on one’s life causing changes in :  behaviour, memory , emotion and cognition
  • 3) Its easy to just slot someone into a common category without the proper workup

Some common forms of dementia include: 

1. Brain injury – caused by trauma to brain cells

2. Huntington’s disease – a progressive disease that causes irregular movements in the face, arms and legs

3. Korsakoff’s syndrome – caused by an excessive use of alcohol and manifests as irreversible brain damage

4. Lewy Bodies Disease – manifests with hallucinations, rigid muscles and tremors (similar to Parkinson’s); fluctuating mental alertness and decreased attention span

5. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus – caused by a build up of fluid in the brain and manifests as:  difficulty walking; urinary incontinence, memory loss, decline in cognitive function, ie., problem solving ability and decision making

6. Parkinson’s disease – a progressive disease of the CNS that manifests as tremors, decline in movement control & impaired speech

7. Vascular dementia – manifests when different parts of the brain do not get the required blood flow/oxygen, ie., stroke

Now Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes a variety of problems with higher cognitive functioning:

  • awareness
  • behaviour
  • memory
  • planning
  • problem solving

What happens with Alzheimer’s is that plaque gets tangled up in the neurons and prevents the neurons from communicating with each other and with the body.

But let’s not forget that there are several nutrient deficiencies that can also cause similar issues:

  • deficient glutathione
  • deficient B vitamins:  B1, B2, B6, B9, B12
  • deficient fatty acids
  • deficient minerals, ie., magnesium
  • deficient microbiota
  • insufficient anti-oxidants

But that’s not all, other issues like:

  • metal toxicities:  mercury, aluminum
  • infection
  • thyroid/adrenal issues
  • toxic liver
  • hardening of the arteries
  • poor levels of nitric oxide (arteries loose their ability for dilation/contracting)
  • numerous pharmaceutical drugs
  • chemotherapy

can also manifest the same symptoms.

So with the brief explanation above, it is easy to see why Alzheimer’s can be easily mis-diagnosed.  Given that they all have similar features – does it matter?

Well yes it does…because depending on what you have you will be prescribed different medications AND many types of dementia are reversible.

Increasing required nutrients; resolving other organ insufficiency; eliminating toxins; increasing cerebral blood flow all with nutrients and herbs can resolve a lot of these same issues.

For instance, 13 studies performed in the past 20 years (seven of which were double blind, placebo controlled) demonstrate that Ginkgo biloba extract can bring about significant regression of the major symptoms of cerebral vascular insufficiency (J Pizzorno and M Murray, Textbook of Natural Medicine, 1992, vol 1).  Regularly taking physostigma vene-nosum, a cholinergic agonist, has been shown to improve memory significantly (J A Geriatrics Soc, 1989; 37: 42-8).

So if your physician is not likely to help you differentiate between the different possible diagnosis AND discuss the nutrients you need to help the brain restore itself – what can you do?

One clue to whether your AD is genuine is right at the tips of your fingers. Abnormal fingerprint patterns, referred to as ulnar loops, which point away from the thumb toward the ulnar bone, are frequently found on all fingertips of AD suffers (as well as those with Down’s Syndrome, which has been linked with AD).  Ulnar loops start on the pinky-side of the finger, the side closer to the ulna, the lower arm bone (see Pizzorno and Murray’s Encylopedia of Natural Medicine for a good illustration).

Be responsible, do your research, find a good health practitioner.

Here’s to your health!

For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

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