I grew up in an area that is not what you’d call sophisticated. The word Alzheimer’s was and still occasionally is referred to as “Old Timer’s Disease”. Today’s article is going to include that, but take a more global perspective about the aging brain in general.
I apologize to any neurologists out there for the gross oversimplifications of brain chemistry needed to take this kind of view, but in the end run it will all make sense for everybody, including the non-rocket scientist!
If you look at most organ systems, they have a very specific set of functions that require a very specific set of differentiated tissues, to do the job. The problem in medicine, as I see it, is we lose track of the common behaviors of cells in those organ systems and as a result, we go down the garden path and eventually, the rabbit holes of specific diseases without paying attention to their commonalities.
The end result is often a series of “specific pathways” that would fill the walls of a 50 story apartment building if you wrote them all out. This excites basic researchers and confers a kind of God-like status among them when talking to mere mortal physicians like me, but it usually leads to more writing and more walls full of scientific graffiti and, far more rarely, a solution to the problem.
Most organ systems can fail because of structural damage at a macro (chunks of tissue), or a micro (bunches of cells and the metabolic pathways that support them). They can also fail because of attacks from infection or auto immune attacks from their own immunity. They can fail because of nutrient deficiencies and they can fail from power supply deficiencies. Finally, they can fail because of inflammatory overkill, due to a bunch of lifestyle factors and environmental exposures.
If we could supplement and protect the structural components of the brain, reduce the inflammatory components and provide the energy giving substrates, we’d have a lot less Old Timer’s diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the biggest killer of all, strokes and secondary vascular damage, due to both brain and heart problems.
In this way, we would be treating the brain for what I think is the real problem: the combined effects of aging in our society. Now would be a good time for me to repeat what I have said many times before: aging is the disease – the thing we call the disease, these days, is a symptom. While you are figuring out what that means in terms of erasing or at least filing away reams of scientific graffiti and misallocation of research dollars, let me tell you what I do about it, straight and simple.
First, I meditate every day to provide some down time for my entire nervous system. Next, I provide a reasonable dose of structural and functional fatty acids, so vital to the brain, in the form of a minimum of 6 grams of fish oil a day.
I provide a substrate supplement called Brain Force 1 to help overcome any brain mitochondrial dysfunction and nutrient deficiency.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. If you are not already taking care of yours, you’d better start now, because aging affects all tissues – some more than others. We’ve all seen or known of demented people who have lived a long time after their minds went on permanent vacation.