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23 Comments

  1. Your programs are of great value to me. Do you offer a scholarship for me as an active homemaker for three of us and a volunteer(with no car) for community service? born1933 mother of five Thank You

  2. Most of my clients are young & aren’t particularly concerned as yet about Alzheimer’s (they have more than enough issues on their plates to be worrying about this issue at this time). However, my husband and I are. We’re both in our sixties and interested in finding out all we can about preventative measures. We’ve watched with dismay as my husband’s mom has succombed to the effects of Alzheimer’s , and she exercised regularly, doing all she could, or knew how, to maintain a healthy, alert mind. So whatever information you can find and share please let us know. Looking at the ACE study and Daniel Siegel’s work on the importance of deep “integration” & mind, brain &relationships, I’m wondering if any studies have been done on the long term benefits of that kind of brain/mind/relationship health and resisting Alzheimer’s. Thanks also for being clear about the structures of the studies, ie. randomized or controled, you’re looking at.

  3. I worry about myself now. My mother also had AD, as did her sister, and two out of five brothers. My fear causes me a lot of anxiety, especially since my back is a mess and I have pain much of the time.
    Every time I make an effort to exercise, I take one step forward, and two steps back. I hope water aerobics counts as exercise, even though it is not weight bearing. That and yoga stretching is all I can do now.
    I am now retired, so I have the time to exercise. I am also an artist, which I think is stimulating for my brain.
    Ruth, I do know what you are going through. My mother too, was a very strong woman. She died in 1992, and it was painful for her family to witness her losing herself.
    If you can offer any advice, I would love to hear it! Good luck Ruth. Sharon

  4. Wow! I can relate to some parts of most of the comments. Scarey stuff! I am in my 70’s, still practicing a full week, slowed down by bad knees but still going to the gym and really appreciating how mindfulness and Buddhism have helped me cope. I feel young but people remind me that I am not. My actions correspond more to my feelings. There has been some change in an aspect of my memory but I still carry on moment by moment. I don’t know how my future will fare. I have been independent but there are moments when I don’t feel as secure. I am about to go on a trip alone and reading the comments has brought upon a fear. I wish I could live forever. One of my patient’s recently told me that he wished he could be as passionate about his work as I am. That felt good.

  5. I have never participated in a blog before but can’t wait to take advantage in this one…must take care of tax preparation first! My mother has Alzhiemer’s and I, like the rest of you, have s story to tell and grief to share.
    Roseann

  6. How many people of all ages receive a dose of mercury every time thay have a ‘flu shot or any other vaccination and how accumulative is the mercury in the brain. I suspect that cleansing the metals from our systems would have a beneficial effect. Just a thought. Personally I refuse all ‘flu shots despite all the propaganda.

  7. I just got back from a trip to visit my aunt and cousin who live together. My aunt has Alzheimer’s and my cousin (my aunt’s son) has terminal cancer. I have known both of them for 70 years. My aunt kept asking me what my name was and where I live. Her only memory is a few things she remembers between 1940 and 1960. However, she seems very happy and content and complains a little about arthritis in her back. She doesn’t recognize anybody because they are older now and she seems to be okay with that as long as they tell her their name and where they live and a little about their relationship to her. I never knew my aunt to exercise other than to do work around the house and run her antique shop.

  8. I am turning 80, and feel that people treat me differently when they know my age… doctors tap you on the shoulder or the back after telling you they cannot help you… I am so disgusted with the “old age” misnomer. I have several ruptures in the abdomen, including a very large, and significant, they say, Diastasis recti, which is ripped apart abdominal muscles.. this causes the look of 10 months pregnancy, and they call me obese, yet I am normal size everywhere else… I have been slim all my life, yet after landscaping, and feeling a long rip in the belly, I saw a large lump rise on my chest when I did a sit up… so there are many reasons why “old age ” term is used, but it is not the age… I found I had less breathing capacity after the ruptures .. 3 that I know of , plus the diastasis. The level of oxygen is much lower, and the walking becomes very difficult (pregnant look and waddle with baby steps now) . It does not allow for the long stride, or even wiping properly.. cannot stretch at all… or each.. then you cannot get out of a soft chair, which they now created a special chair for thousands of dollars… the total “old age” misconception is worldwide and made up by doctors who do not want to repair the OLD ones…The lack of oxygen does not allow sleep, therefore the sleeping pills start, for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years… many doctor visits for nothing, and many pain pills etc.. it goes on and on. Scans and test also very expensive on the Medical systems… also if the docs give the OLD ones pills made for anorexics to gain, like the remeron tetracyclic, they lose the Omegas they had,( cause cravings for fat) and also the loss of oxygen, may well contribute to their lack of memory and dementia.. also will damage the eyes with macular degeneration.. I would like more respect from the family doctors who may be actually lying to their older patients, believing there is nothing to be done… they should have had the repair surgery many years before.. Why is this happening to us ? I cannot get the surgery I need. thank you, sincerely, Mary Dicerni

  9. Thank you Dr Ruth,
    I encourage exercise as you do. And thank you Karen Mc Farland for bringing coclonut oil into the conversation. It must be organic and first press for maximum effect.
    Also to consider — 50% of the fatty acid portion of the brain is made up of Omega 3 oils. Best sources are purified fish oil. I recommend Nordic Naturals. 3 g/day of EPA + DHA is a routie dose. (Add up those 2 nutrients from the supplement facts part of the label for correct dosing)
    Arachadonic acid makes up a significant part of brains fats. Generally Americans get too much of that in relation to Omega 3’s but there are vegetarian and vegan clients who get hardly any. Best sources of arachadonic acid are grass fed beef and organic dairy products.
    Also to consider is gluten sensitivity or allergy. Thsoe who are sensitive to gluten (found in all wheat, rye, teff, and spelt food products) but eat it any way get inflammation in their brain and have a 40% increased risk of developing dementia.
    Blessings,
    Dr Liinda

  10. The closer we come to living the way our ancient ancestors lived (Paleo plan) – with our diets, exercise (walking while searching for food), and minimized stress, the healthier it seems we will be! And exercise is also great for minimizing the stress!
    Thanks Ruth, for all your wonderful posts and presentations!

  11. Thank you for this article. This can be great motivation for some people to continue with their exercise regimens (or start them) knowing there are so many benefits.
    Unfortunately for my mother, she did everything that is recommended, and yet still, she has Alzheimer’s. It can get really frustrating for me to read articles with no mention that even someone who is above average active (my mother has been a competitive tennis player until about 1 year ago, when she could no longer remeber what time the matches were, nor the score in the game), an avid reader, a huge social network of friends, a healthy eater, and one of the most positive people you will meet (would, she is a bit cranky these days) STILL can get Alzheimer’s.
    The fact is, there are genes at play. I wish articles and people would acknowledge this more, instead of the emphasis that the patient is making “excuses”. I can only imagine how it would contribute to a person’s thoughts that somehow they didn’t do something the right way, or brought this upon themselves. Having Dementia is hard enough, without having to explain to people that you led the healthiest of lifestyles, and still, you end up with Dementia,(or a number of genetic diseases).
    I recommend a great book, “Still Alice”. In this book, Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a very honest look at the people this disease grabs, like Alice, a Harvard professor, avid runner, mother and wife.
    Thank you for reaching out to the people who do need to implement healthy living to help stave off this heartwrenching disease. If it can help anyone for any amount of time, it is worth it to not have to watch your loved one and family and friends experience the long goodbye.

  12. Hi
    It interesting to note the association between exercise and the brain. My father was diagnosed with alcohol induced dementia over a year ago. He was living on his own since 1991 since my mother had died. He was very active and on the go until his legs started giving him trouble and had to use a walker. He has vascular problems and was on high blood pressure medication.
    I knew he drank alcohol but didn’t realize just how much and even with a walker was falling,,,do to drinking, no doubt. I had wanted him to move in with me for quite awhile, to make sure that he was taking his meds and eating properly and he was thinking about it. After falling one day, I took it upon myself to take him in. I had not realized how bad he was memory wise and later the above diagnosis. My father also had mini strokes, another account for the short term memory. I am not a doctor but after caring for him now almost two years the difference is night and day.
    I believe the alcohol worsened his brain activity and I cut him down to only one or two beers a day and served him nutritional foods,,,he went from not knowing me at times or where he was to the father that I was used to. I believe he drank from boredom since he couldn’t get out and be active as before. Because of his belief he doesn’t need to exercise he doesn’t move to much except when he has to use the washroom or doc’s appt. He is happy to watch his television sitting in his chair most of the day.
    At the onset of my realization of the fact that he had dementia, with no knowledge of this terrible disease, I did my research and had him into the advanced stages. This was a very stressful time for me as anyone who is responsible for someone with this illness but I trudged on. I have seen how a healthier lifestyle can change ones health. His short term memory is better and can recall many long term events which has happened in his life. The doctor’s do have him on Aricept medication for dementia and vitamin b12, 1200 mg. He also takes 80mg of asa. His blood pressure medication has been cut down to half. His blood pressure is 110 over 60. I find it amazing and I also find that he never complains about aches or pains, wonderful for a man who’s 82.
    Anyone who hasn’t seen this video please watch it,,,a man named Dr. Amen, he talks about the brain and brain specs. It can be found by just typing in his name and a man called Jim Kwik also are mentors we should all look up to for getting information out to people and just hope out of thousands can change their lives to the better.
    Thank you Dr. Buczynski for the great video and look forward to seeing more in how we all can improve our brain.
    Linda

  13. Mary T. Newport has made some interesting findings in helping her husband to overcome alzheimers…
    http://www.bulletproofexec.com/podcast-13-how-to-take-care-of-your-brain-with-coconut-oil-ketones/
    With the introduction of no-fat low-fat diets entering the picture, beginning in the 50’s and more or less peaking in the 70’s – 90’s, and the brain then becoming reliant on carbohydrates for fuel (since we weren’t eating the healthy fats…or minimally anyway) it really isn’t particularly surprising to me that Alzheimer’s has risen significantly. Not only were we primarily fueling ourselves with carbs but typically refined processed carbs.
    Eat more healthy fats to ensure healthy brain, hormone and cognitive function….

  14. I walked my mother through a slow descent of dementia; losing her ability to know anything past a few seconds. Her mother and brother also had vascular dementia, accumalative brain damage via a series of micro strokes. I am thus genetically predisposed but as in the examples above I am not allowing a pedisposition to be my destiny if I can help it. I am doing everything I can to support cardiovascular and brain health. Noteworthy to this blog is that as she lost her memory, she lost any pain or suffering. I would vist her and bring her coffee and donuts with my then young children. She enjoyed our company and treats though she may not have known who I was-I just reminded her. One day I spied on her to see her reaction of leaving. It was if the visit never happened. She had a happy disposition as she had no responsibility, and not a care in the world! She was embracing mindfulness, so if it comes down to being my turn I am already practicing.

  15. Dr. Buczynski, I agree about the exercise, but add in nutrition. My recent readings on nutrition suggest that grains and “manufactured food” (transfats, high glycemic index, too many carbs) are serious contributors to messed-up insulin metabolism. This week saw reports on how exercise affects epigenetic gene expression. I summarize the interplay to conclude that exercise + better diet could be major factors in eliminating Alzheimer’s and many cancers — returning our epidemiology and disease incidence to something much closer to non-grain eating indigenous populations (in which Alzheimer’s and most cancers were all but absent, along with other “lifestyle diseases” like diabetes). See Taubes, GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES, for instance. But the combination of nutrition (lots of good protein and veggies) plus exercise is the kicker. It’s enough to keep me hauling myself off to CrossFit 3X/week, plus walking, running and something most other days. It feels good.

    • Thank goodness someone is talking about the importance of nutrition! “You are what you eat” is literally true. People who eat the modern American diet are eating death and disease. It’s time to stop pretending diet has no effect on mental health.
      Treat the whole person, body, mind and soul.

  16. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing your story and the science behind exercising and brain health. It’s something we can all do for better physical and mental health throughout life. I’d like to offer a different pradigm for thinking about our loved ones who are living with dementia, however, and a philosophy that promotes a life worth living for every member of the care partner team, including the Elder herself.
    The Eden Alternative is an international not-for-profit organization that has been transforming the culture of care for twenty years. This innovative approach is based on the principles and practices of of person-directed care, which is structured around the unique needs, preferences, and desires of the individual in question. Through this approach, decisions and actions around care honor the voices and choices of care recipients and their care partners, leading to improved quality of care and quality of life for all involved.
    We view Elderhood as a distinct developmental stage of life, and Elders as having gifts to offer, no matter what their apparent limitations. We view “care” as being so much more than treatment for physical problems, but see it as “helping another to grow.”
    The Eden Alternative’s founder, Dr. Bill Thomas, says loneliness, helpless, and boredom are the three plagues of Elderhood that cause most of the suffering of Elders, but that any member of the care partner team (family, health professionals, neighbors) can suffer from these plagues of the spirit, as well. Our culture can change by embracing this Philosophy, and Eldercare can be different!
    The Eden Alternative’s journey has been a grassroots movement toward transforming care and is now expanding its reach to Elders and their care partners who are living in their homes. Please consider visiting http://www.edenalt.org to learn more about the ten Principles of The Eden Alternative, and about how you can get involved.
    I also welcome contact from people interested in learning more! Thank you and take care.

  17. I read thru the other few comments before writing my own, so I will address them all together.
    Regarding the caution of feeling one is on a time bomb, I agree that what we think of may come to pass. I wonder if all the press about screening (for anything) actually is counterproductive because it makes us live in a state of fear/negative expectation. And no matter how many things we do to try to overcome that situation, the thought takes on a life of its own. The Bible verse about Job, Psalms 23, Phillipians 4:8 “Whatsover…think on these things”.
    Regarding Ruth’s mention of her mother not recognizing her: My dad was a school superintendent, got his 2nd Master’s degree at age 65, and walked a lot, fast too–we had trouble keeping up with him on his “power walks”! At age 76 he began asking for things to be repeated. This was actually the impetus for my getting Brain Gym training. I also attended Naomi Feil’s “Validation Therapy” which is NOT reality therapy. Both “BG” & “VT” were helpful in my interactions with Daddy who lived 8 more years. One time I was visiting and Daddy who was always cordial, gentlemanly, did not know who I was. I hollered from the kitchen asking if he wanted coffee, “No, I don’t believe so, Rhydonia.”(!) It occurred to me that he recognized my voice but did not recognize the 60 year old as HIS DAUGHTER! This is no scientific study, but I think it quite possible that our voices don’t change as much as our appearance does as we age, so SEEING is NOT believing.
    Another time, I was at my parents’ home and Daddy was in the room while I went over a nephew’s ACT scores & other college conversation. After my sister & her son left, Daddy said, “You really know that stuff, don’t you?” I’m not sure what clued me in, but I realized (I think) that Daddy did not realize he was speaking to his daughter, but was giving me a professional compliment as superintendent. I did not tell him that I was his daughter; we had a professional conversation instead.
    It hurt so much to be losing Daddy daily; I even asked God, “Will there be any grief left?” (There was.) But Naomi Feils believes that this time of dementia is a period needed for resolution–& that validating during this time can slow the progression of dementia and consequently the time needed for long term care.
    I got my Ed.S. after I retired from school teaching/counseling. Tribute to Daddy, but also to keep my mind active. Perhaps this quote of unknown origin can help us continue to grow:
    ‘Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.’
    Rhydonia Anderson

  18. I am not a Scientist, I am just a massage therapist who personally changed many dietary changes 10 years ago. I was forcibly hospitalized by my children who thought I was crazy and bipolar! The drugs I was court ordered to take only made the situation worse. With the aid of my new computor and going to massage school, I began studying why I got into that situation. In 2002, I first learned about the blood type diet (www.dadamo.com). It took me 2 yrs to go from 250 lbs to 155. Along the way I learned that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. I learned that pH is very important to brain health. The optimal pH for the brain is 7.4 and Blood pH is 7.3. With a lifetime of eating sugar, other carb-sugar laden foods like wheat, corn and potatoes, I was in trouble physically and it effected my mental moods, memory and physical health! The addiction to sugar is hardest to break but I mostly avoid carbs and take liquid complete minerals to help balance the pH and to build bone strength. Sugar, in my opinion is to be considered the worst offender in brain health! The action is immediate in affecting the brain health! I consider my recognition of Sugars negative influence as strong as a cocaine or worse than any cocaine or other illicit drug could be on the human mind. My memory is improving the more oi avoid sugar. I cannot avoid birthday cakes and other desserts but limit myself to homemade ones and only on weekends! So how does SUGAR affect other peoples brains? That is for experts and sciEntists like yourself to figure out! But for me, it is a lifestyle and health choice I have to make everyday!

  19. I tell people who worry about developing alzheimers that the worry will bring it on and to aviod it they must focus on what they want to have happen instead. We formulate a statement such as, “I want to live a long happy and healthy life and be fit, healthy and mentally alert until the day.”

  20. Dr. Buczynski, I agree about the exercise. I’m 73 and have always been active even with some overwhelming physical setbacks. I’m the 5th of 6 children- I’m the only sibling that doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. So, you can imagine my fear; and, also the sadness of seeing and experiencing my siblings with this awaful disease. I’ve already lost 2 of my brothers, and have 2 sisters and one more brother that probably won’t be around much longer. I’ve read everything that I find about Alzheimer’s, and have been for several years now. I’m a type A personality, and always try to keep my brain challenged- I feel as though I’m sitting on top of a bomb ready to explode. Do you have any suggestions for me.
    Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration,
    Dorothy

    • Hi Dorothy,
      whatever you fear you will bring on because you are focused on it and whatever you focus on will come to you. ‘For the thing which I fear cometh upon me, And that which I am afraid of cometh unto me.’ Job 3:25. Your metaphor of sitting on a bomb and waiting for it to explode is a very powerful one and your subconsious mind is getting a very strong visual command to explode the imaginairy bomb you are sitting on.
      Start to say you are safe. If you believe in God look up a Biblical verse to help you, the 23rd Psalm wopuld be perfect. If not just make something up that focusses on what you want to have happen. Like this, “I want to live a long happy and healthy life and be fit, healthy and mentally alert until the day I die.”
      It’s never too late so begin today.

  21. when I think of my 87 year’s old aunty who still walks dayly through the woods for at least one hour and has a brilliant mind, I just can confirm from experience that movement is contributing a lot to brain health. Tjhis old lady passed through the “repair department” getting her knees fixed, her hips fixed, her cataract operated, and now she is on the run again. And I know about more of these elerly people who are in brilliant shape thanks to dayly exercise