(Dr. Braverman, of Life Extension and the PATH program has been an inspiration to us. He thinks of the brain as the life-giving force of the body, with all the other organs taking their cues from it. Chemical imbalances in the brain causes much of the afflictions we experience. We agree with that and you will see that influence below.)
Prevention is Golden
More than 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. When you add in dementia, the number of people gets even bigger. As a country, we need to give more attention of preventing or slowing cognitive decline. If we don’t, the number of people affected by this may increase dramatically when the baby-boom generation reaches age 65. (1)
Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are preceded by a long, steady decline in mental faculties, including memory function. If these people were helped in their early 50s, much heartbreak could have been avoided.(2) There’s no reason for seniors to be deprived of mental function when we know what can be done 15 or 20 years before our 70’s.
Many people experience a complete reversal of memory loss when it is diagnosed and treated in its early stages. Even advanced dementia can, on occasions, experience a significant return of speech and memory function.
While age is the primary factor for dementia, recent studies have suggested that regular administration of memory tests can identify people at risk for conversions to frank dementia.(3)
Tests, such as the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMSIII), can be given in a primary care setting to evaluate the decline toward Alzheimer’s. These tests take an, or so, to administer and their results give a baseline value. Dr. Braverman believer these tests, and cholesterol tests, are more effective than the MMSE for early identification of cognitive impairment.
The brain functions are shared somewhat by all lobes. However, more is now understood about the four lobe pairs and there is some specialization:
1. The frontal lobes, where dopamine provides energy, generates beta waves and working memory controls abstract and strategic thinking.
2. The temporal lobes, where GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) generates theta waves and verbal memory controls emotion, calmness and hearing.
3. The parietal lobes, where acetylcholine provides brain speed, generates alpha waves and short-term memory controls creativeness and memory.
4. The occipital lobes, where serotonin provides restorative ability, generates delta waves and visual memory controls sight perceptual artisans.
Why is this important? The initial stages of memory decline have immediate memory problems. Detecting this earlier, starting at age 40, allows a person to address the issue and better outcomes can be achieved.
Preserving Your Memories
Medical conditions are usually connected with each other.
• Illnesses, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and diabetes, affect cognitive function.(4-5)
• Addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs also have been studied for their relation to the brain.(6)
• Coronary bypass surgery can affect the menstrual cycle affect cognition.(7-8)
• A temporary anxious moment could cause a “tip-of-the-tongue” short-term memory loss.(8)
• Toxic metal poisoning, posttraumatic stress, head injuries, chronic fatigue, anemia, kidney failure, pulmonary disease all affect brain function and thus memory.(9-11)
Although memory loss can begin earlier, its signs usually manifest after age 40. At this age, we may “misplace” things or forget the names of people just introduced to us. This is not a quaint consequence of getting older – it may be an early sign of cognitive decline.
Adding nutrients for specific areas of the brain,
and their specific brain chemicals,
has produced dramatic memory results!
For example, the introduction of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which affect the production of serotonin in the occipital lobes, greatly advanced the treatment of depressionand the restorative function (in sleep).
How Memory Forms
It is interesting to note that memories remain stored even when our ability to access them is impaired. A study conducted by Dr. William Penfield showed hidden memories still present in the brain when they were electrically activated in an open skull.
The memory function starts with information going to the parietal lobes and the acetylcholine neurotransmitter. Then it is processed in the frontal lobes that are powered by dopamine. Memory decline starts at the beginning: if we cannot receive information, we certainly cannot process or store it.
Life is determined by the electrical activity that takes place in the brain. Chemicals initiate this electrical activity, which is then represented by various brainwaves. Unless some of the things mentioned earlier stops it,
Lowered brain activity can be restored
by replacing the vital brain chemicals!
However, because the digestive system is often inefficient and doesn’t absorb all of the nutrients from food, essential nutrients – such as choline – must be supplemented. We feel the nutrients we provide in our IN-Focus natural formulation containing choline, along with the other nutrients we provide, are a vital part of a healthy brain.
Kenneth Blum, PhD, says there is clinical evidence that acetylcholine and dopamine precursors enhance brain wave magnitude and latency (speed). Blum is an expert on genetics and brain function, and coauthor of a brain wave study. He says that nutrients like d-phenylalanine, huperzine, and rhodiola rosea have improved memory and focus in Alzheimer’s patients (guess what – they are also in our formula).(12)
Medications and Hormones
The most serious cases of memory loss may also require the remedies that are prescribed and monitored by a physician. We are presenting the natural side but do not throw out the medical aspect. However, regardless of which is prescribed, indications and side effects should be fully explained to the patient or caregiver.
Hormones, too, can be part of the help for brain regions and functions. For example, testosterone, while commonly associated with sex drive, belongs to the frontal lobe/energy group. Hormones associated with the memory function can include testosterone, human growth hormone, vasopressin – as well as DHEA, and pregnenolone (which we provide).
Hormone assessment and balancing should be included in a treatment plan for severe memory impairment. Contact Dr. Braverman’s office in that case at: 888.304.7184 or 212.213.6155
1. Derrer DS, Howieson DB, Mueller EA, Camicioli RM, Sexton G, Kaye JA. Memory testing in dementia: how much is enough? J Geriatric Psychiatr Neurol. 2001 Spring;14(1):1-6.
2. de Jager CA, Milwain E, Badge M. Early detection of isolated memory deficits in the elderly: the need for more sensitive neuropsychological tests. Psycho! Med. 2002 Apr;32(3):483-91.
3. Royall DR, Palmer R, Chiodo LK, Polk MJ. Decline in learning aibility best predicts future dementia type: the Freedom House study. Exper Aging Res. 2003 Oct-Dec;29(4):385-406
4. Sanz M, Molina V, Martin-Loeches M, Calcedo A, Rubia FJ. Auditory P300 event-related potential and serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment in obsessive-compulsive disorder patients.Psych Res. 2001 Feb 14;101(1):75-81.
5. Kurita A, Mochio 5, Isogai Y. Changes in auditory P300 event-related potentials and brainstem evoked potentials in diabetes mellitus. Acta Neural Scand. 1995 Oct;92(4):319-23.
6. Bauer LO, Costa L, Hesselbrock VM. Effects of alcoholism, anxiety, ao.d depression on P300 in women: a pilot study. J Stud Alcohol. 2001 Sep;62(5):571-9.
7. Kilo J, Czerny M, Gorlitzer M, et al. Cardiopulmonary bypass affects cognitive brain function after coronary artery bypass grafting. Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Dec;72(6):1926-32.
8. Tasman A, Hahn T, Maiste A. Menstrual cycle synchronized changes in brain stem auditory evoked potentials and visual evoked potentials. Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Jun 1;45(11):1516-9.
9. Attias J, Bleich A, Furman V, Zinger Y. Event-related potentials in post-traumatic stress disorder of combat origin. Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Sep 1;40(5):373-81,
10. Brown WS, Marsh JT,Volcott D, et al. Cognitive function, mood. and P3 latency: effects of amelioration of anemia in dialysis patients. Neuropsychologi a. 1991;29(1):35-45.
11. Polich I, Moore AP, Wiederhold MD. P300 assessment of chronic fatigue syndrome. J CIin Neurophys. 1995 Mar;12(2):186-91.
12. Kenneth Blum, Amanda Lih-Chuan Chen, Eric R Braverman, David E Comings, Thomas JH Chen, Vanessa Arcuri, Seth H Blum, Bernard W Downs, Roger L Waite, Alison Notaro, Joel Lubar, Lonna Williams, Thomas J Prihoda, Tomas Palomo, and Marlene Oscar-Berman. “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Reward Deficiency Syndrome.” Neuropsychiatris Disease Treatment v.4(5); 2008 Oct