Published On: Mon, Mar 17th, 2014

Bra in the Freezer?

Old lady

By Gayle Pruitt, C.N.

So you found your mother’s bra in the freezer.  She’s in her 80’s.  You’re scared and you wonder what’s going on, so you take her to the doctor that she has been going to for years. The doctor listens to your story and tells you it’s probably early onset Alzheimer’s.  He gives her a prescription for Aricept, or some other drug approved for Alzheimer’s, but is it really Alzheimer’s disease? Could it be a stroke or a series of small strokes?  Could it be that she is distracted, or maybe one of her medications is causing a problem? The truth is…It could be any of those scenarios.

When I was a teenager, my mind was always on something else, mainly boys.  When doing the dishes, or folding and putting clothes away, my mom might find dishes or clothes in many interesting places. One time I was helping out with a brunch for mom and my job was to make the coffee.   We had a percolator back then and when it was time to serve the coffee, nobody could find it.  For some reason, I had put the percolator in the refrigerator.  Everyone laughed but no one was concerned about me or my mental health.  No one ever thought I had a problem, other than being a silly teenager.  If that had happened now, I would probably be rushed to the doctor and given a battery of tests, and then several prescriptions.

Okay…back to your mother.  Let’s say your mother does have a serious memory problem.  There was a study done at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.  They found that people who suffer vascular brain injury from strokes and high blood pressure are at a much higher risk for dementia then for Alzheimer’s disease.  In the past many stroke victims may have been given the wrong diagnosis, since Alzheimer’s patients share some similar symptoms to stroke victims.

Current therapy for diagnosed vascular dementia patients focuses on preventing another stroke through a combination of lifestyle changes and pharmaceuticals with the option of adding a rehabilitation program.  This could include physical and occupational therapies as well as mental exercises done by the patient.

Generally it is thought that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.  However, in the medical community it is believed that certain Alzheimer’s medications can temporarily slow some of the worst of the symptoms and possibly improve the quality of life for the patient and the caregiver.  Usually after certain symptoms worsen and the caregiver cannot handle the patient alone, an Alzheimer’s unit is suggested.

Is there any natural remedy available that can help with these two devastating diseases?

The answer is …maybe.

Statistically, the percentage of Alzheimer’s disease in India is much lower than anywhere in the world. Elderly villagers living in certain rural areas have less than 1 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s.  In the cities, the risk is about 2.5 percent.

In comparing the people in America that are 65 years and older to the people in India of the same age, Americans are found to have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.   Depending on where they are living in the United States, Americans are anywhere between 5 and 17% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than their counterparts in India.

What causes such a large difference in these percentage rates in India and America?  Diet is one of the causes.  Curry is used on a daily basis in the rural areas of India, and one of the main ingredients in curry is turmeric.  There have been thirty studies that have shown turmeric contains anti-Alzheimer’s properties due to the presence of its active ingredient, curcumin.  Additionally, there have been over one hundred studies showing there are also neuroprotective properties in turmeric.

That slight dietary change could assist Alzheimer’s patients, but what about stokes?

Some of the same natural ingredients may help both the stroke victim and the Alzheimer’s patient. Besides eating curry and taking turmeric as a supplement, consider some other options to increase your brain health.  Eating chia seeds is an excellent way to maintain a healthy brain and heart, since they are high in ALA, alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid and organic compounds. Chia seeds may be one of the richest natural sources of ALA Omega-3’s on earth.

You could also take a supplement containing chia and algal oil, which is high in DHA & EPA.  EPA and DHA are vital nutrients which are often taken to maintain the healthy function of the brain. The results of a recent meta-analysis, by US researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stated that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acid DHA from algal oil may lower blood triglycerides and increase both high-density (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people without coronary heart disease.

It wouldn’t hurt to also add some Coenzyme Q 10 and Gingko Biloba to your supplement regiment. For stroke patients, check into the use of rutin, a bioflavonoid that helps the integrity of the vessel cell wall.  Doing all of that doesn’t get you off the hook from eating lots of healthy, organic, colorful vegetables and fruit, or using grass-fed meat and doing some mental and physical exercise every day.

So the next time you find your bra (or boxer shorts) in the freezer, why not order Indian Curry take-out or just cook some healthy food at home using curry.  Then do a crossword puzzle to exercise your brain.  After that, enjoy a nice long walk in the park or better yet, get a dog.

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