Chapter 2.2 - Alzheimer's
In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's Disease.
The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.
This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available as a download on this website.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
- ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
- CONVENTIONAL APPROACHES
- Environment and Care Centers
- C.A.M. THERAPIES
- BIO-ENERGETIC THERAPIES
BODYWORK AND MOVEMENT THERAPIES
- Nutrition and Supplements
- Enzymatic Therapies
- Rainforest and Western Herbs
- Rainforest Herbs
- Western Herbs
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Essential Oils
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
- Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Hatha Yoga Postures
- PRODUCT ORDERING INFORMATION
- GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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Memory loss is not necessarily senility, but a medical condition called dementia - and Alzheimer's disease is the most likely cause.
Alzheimer's is a medical condition where memory and abstract throught processes are impaired. Symptoms include depression, disoriented perceptions of space and time, gradual memory loss, loss of bladder and bowel control, trouble doing daily tasks, difficulty making judgments and concentrating, disorientation, and problems communicating. It may also include personality disorders and severe mood swings. Risk factors of Alzheimer's have been linked to a gene called apolipoprotein E4 or Apo-e4. Having the Apo-e4 gene means that you have risk factor for developing Alzheimer's, not that you will definitely get the disease. Apo-e4 transports cholesterol through the bloodstream and changes the form of amyloid in the brain. Those with two copies of this gene have a 50% chance of getting Alzheimer's before the age of 70. Testing for Alzheimer's, such as a simple blood test, is not yet available. Instead, doctors perform a thorough physical exam, evaluate memory and thinking and do blood tests and possibly brain scans to rule out other conditions.
The process that causes Alzheimer's can begin a decade before symptoms are obvious Death usually occurs within five to ten years following diagnosis.. Alzheimer's occurs when nerve cells in the brain become damaged. Let's look at what causes this breakdown in communication between nerve cells, by first looking at how nerve cells communicate. In normal brain activity, a small gap separates two nerve cells. The brain is composed of billions of these cells, called neurons, which control activities such as language and movement. The nerve cells depend on electrical signals which carry messages through natural chemical substances, called neurotransmitters, to carry messages across this gap. These chemicals will dock at receptor sites on the neighboring nerve cells. The electrical signal prompts the neuron to release neurotransmitters, then the electrical signal is ignited and the message continues its journey to the next cell. However, in Alzheimer's disease, sticky clumps of protein called amyloid form plaques between the nerve cells. Nerve fibers surrounding the hippocampus, the brain's memory center, become tangled, and information is no longer carried properly to and from the brain. These "Tangles," or twisted protein fibers within nerve cells, contain characteristic plaque, composed largely of protein-containing substances called beta-amyloids. Over time more and more of these nerve cells show signs of damage and die. Another finding in Alzheimer's is the decrease in the levels of neurotransmitters which means nerve cells can no longer communicate with one another. New memories cannot be formed, and memories formed earlier cannot be retrieved.
People with Alzheimer's who realize something is wrong should have their questions answered. Be prepared that up to 50% of Alzheimer's patients do not understand that they have an illness. Research underway regarding Alzheimer's and breakthroughs to replace brain chemicals that are missing, as well as slow down the progression of this disease, are expected soon.
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Glossary of Terms
- A neurotransmitter that functions as a chemical messenger, sending signals between two nerve cells.
- Alzheimer's Disease
- An illness (not a normal part of aging) that causes a person to have difficulty remembering, thinking, making judgments and performing other mental activities; first described in 1906 by Alois Alzheimer.
- Apo-e Gene
- A gene linked to the type of Alzheimer's disease that usually begins after age 65; it is a risk factor for the disease, not a cause of it. Research continues to uncover other such genes.
- The ability to know, which includes being able to reason, remember and make judgments.
- Durable Power of Attorney
- A legal instrument by which person appoints someone to make medical, legal or financial decisions on his or her behalf.
- A physician who cares for elderly patients.
- Living Will
- A document that states the kinds of medical care you want should you be unable to make the decisions yourself.
- A physician whose specialty is diagnosing and treating patients who have diseases of the nervous system (the brain, spinal cord and nerves).
- A nerve cell; the human brain contains billions of neurons.
- Any of the specialized chemicals that carry a signal from one neuron to another.
- Sticky clumps of a type of protein (amyloid); plaques form between nerve cells in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
- A physician (MD or DO) who diagnoses and treats patients with mental, emotional and behavioral problems.
- A drug used to treat Alzheimer's disease that helps some patients, may work temporarily and may have side effects.
- Twisted protein fibers found within the nerve cells of the brain when Alzheimer's disease is present.
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