Do Alzheimer Prescription drugs work? Factors that Influence Memory and Memory Loss.
According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, “Science so far has failed to find a drug that can alter the progression of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia; 146 attempts have failed over the last decade, a recent industry report found. Even drugs that help remove the sticky plaques that clog the brains of people with the disease have not yet proved able to stave off mental decline.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-hlth-studies-to-prevent-alzheimers-1004-story.html?WT.mc_id=enews2018_10_10&utm_source=enews-aff-208&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=enews-2018-10-10
So drug after drug has failed to stop Alzheimer’s memory destruction in the past 10 years. In a few cases, prescription drugs do slow down the progress of memory loss or help with some symptoms temporarily. They also cause side effects, which in some cases’ are severe enough to stop the medication. In some patients, the drugs may make the patient worse or cause the patient to want to harm themselves or others.
Factors Influencing Memory, dementia, and Alzheimer’s ?
In the article quoted above, it states that now science is going to work on prevention of memory loss in the early years. It is stated that is the only way to stop the progression of mental loss. In my humble view, that should have been the goal to begin with. It is always easier to treat an imbalance before it becomes a disease state. That is the difference between holistic medicine and standard medicine. Holistic medicine is preventive medicine that works to heal the base cause before it becomes a permanent state resulting in a disease. That is why standard medicine fails to stop disease. To stop disease, you need to deal with it in the imbalance stage. I am a master herbalist by training so this irks me when I read certain articles. It is always the first goal in holistic medicine to deal with the factors causing an imbalance, in this case, memory loss and dementia.
Standard medicine is the only form of healing modality that waits until you have a named disease with lab work to confirm that diagnosis. It is like does cancer just suddenly appear out of thin air? No, it may take months or years to develop. Most health problems occur over time. Why does standard medicine wait until the end of the process….disease?
So we are going to talk prevention in this article. I know quite a lot about this subject because of two accidents in my life. One was in the late 1990’s when I fell asleep at the wheel and ended up straddling a water canal in the middle of the night. I broke the windshield from the inside and it was a miracle that I didn’t die. I suffered broken ribs, knees torn up, and short term memory loss for over a year. In Jan 2015 just after we moved here to TN, I fell, slamming the back of my head on the frozen ground in our front yard, trying to get to the mail box. Again, I had some damage to the memory for almost two years, even though it was not as serious as the first car accident. Right after that last fall, we were at the senior center enrolling in their programs when the director ask my birth date for their forms. I gave them the wrong birth date. My husband looked at me in shock and I realized too, I had given the wrong date. My ability to focus, concentrate, and absorb reading material gave me a headache. I could not write. That took me down the path of trying several supplements which over time helped me heal enough so I remembered the important stuff like birth dates and could drive places without sudden confusion. I still could not write and my ability to do research and writing was still affected even until recently. I suffered horrible brain fog at times. So what in my case, go me back into writing again?
But before I go into that, lets talk prevention. Falls need to be prevented. This is especially true the older you get. My father in law because he drank, fell all the time. In the last month of his life, he fell at least 6 times between his apt, the hospital and the nursing home. He was defiant in using his cane at 93. I watched as each fall caused more weakness and affected his mental state too. He was not drinking at that time but was suffering from the long term affects of chronic end stage leukemia. Falls must be avoided. That may mean taking up rugs, removing furniture that is in the way, moving to a different house without stairs, steps, and multiple floors, Installing bars in the shower. Putting in a new shower with mobility as the main goal. Bars by the toilet and anywhere else where falls are likely. Moving to a different home on flat ground. In winter, using boots that have grips on the bottom for better stabilization. Use a walking stick or cane if needed to keep you from falling. We all have to get older at some point and admit we need to take these steps. We live on a steep piece of property where any steps involve possible falls. Each winter is nerve wracking after my fall. I am only 67 but I cannot afford any more falls like the one is 2015. I am an independent woman who usually lets nothing keep her down but falls will do that. I take it easier now and take precautions every day on this property. I walk slowly and more carefully. I hold on to the rails going to the basement and down the front steps. We have realized that we need to move to a house with less fall risks. So in two years that is what we plan to do. It really is maddening to get older, needing to adjust life style accordingly. Just do it and be thankful you are not in a wheel chair or worse.
Memory loss has a lot to do with stress and nutrition issues too for everyone. If your stress level is high, you need to eat with quality in mind. Lean meats, salads, whole foods which are not the average American diet of junk food and empty calories. Your brain needs to be fed quality food to operate effectively. So cut out sugar, sodas, candy, and junk food. Keep your weight down or lose weight if you have added a few pounds which is easy to do as you get older. Your appetite often either increases as you age or you just don’t feel like eating often. Your taste changes as well. It is important to eat a small portion at consistent times of the day if you don’t have a good appetite. Loneliness for some affects their ability to eat or they eat the wrong foods. If you don’t feed your brain in the healthy way, it will not work efficiently. Find a way to reduce your stress with whatever that is: music, reading, meditation, walking, playing with the kids or your dogs, gardening, or helping others. Replace worry with action in one way or another.
Walk or include some physical exercise every day but with safety. Physical exercise helps you to maintain a healthy brain. If the terrain is too steep at your home, go to the senior centers who generally have programs for seniors that can be modified for all ages and ability. This is an extremely important step to keeping your mind healthy.
Use your brain and memory every day. My mother loved crossword puzzle games. Everyday she worked on one. For me is is learning and researching topics for articles. My husband plays bridge, one thing way beyond my comprehension. He loves it and it is really a game that helps him both mentally and socially. So it is different strokes for everyone. Different activities promote different areas of the brain. Different activities promote different areas of the brain. Interaction with others is good for the brain.
At times you must force yourself to take part in activities that you may not be keen about but try them. I have never been a game player but they are good for you in many ways. Games stimulate the brain and different brain areas. We will go into that in another blog in more detail.
- Memory loss from falls involve a lot of work and experimentation of what may help your brain to recover from the injury. The severity of the fall is an issue too. I took care of a man who had fallen into a roof with part of his skull dented. He had severe problems with appetite from damage to the hypothalamus area and sexual conduct that was an issue. It was so sad. Falls do damage differently to each person and their brain. No two patients have the same issues. There are now some therapies and intervention that can make quite a difference in the outcome if the person if treated within a few hours or days of the injury. In most patients, time and therapy does in the long term help heal brain injury from traumatic falls or accidents. Therapists can do wonders for patients.
Rather than tackle the subject of what herbs and supplements can help with memory loss, I am going to address that in the next articles. It is so important that it may take several articles to address these herbs and supplements.
Since drugs are not all that effective, you deserve to learn about supplements that your doctor will not tell you about. He only knows drugs in most cases. His education is prescription drugs. I recovered from my falls and memory problems not through drugs but through natural herbs and supplements. I am not going to mislead you that it still does not take time…but I am writing again which I had thought impossible the way it was going.
So with this I will lead you into the next few blogs talking about herbs and supplements that can make a huge difference in your recovery not only from brain trauma but from memory loss due to aging. In women, hormonal imbalance and menopause can be the basis for memory problems. Prescription drug side effects are another huge issue in the elderly and in memory loss for those younger. An example is the effects of chemotherapy drugs on memory. Over-dosage of medications is another huge issue for the elderly causing memory loss and dysfunction. These subjects all need an article written solely on that subject.
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