Read the full article based on my interview with Dr. Mary Kay Ross here.
Read my story on Miriam and how she reversed her MCI here.
So you have mild cognitive impairment, and you’re doing everything you can think of to defend your cognition.
Diet. Exercise. Stress management. You’re doing all of that. Maybe brain training. Maybe trying to learn a new language, or take up a musical instrument.
And yet, that fog is not clearing. Why not? Are you missing something?
Dr. Mary Kay Ross says you might be, and not even know it. Your cognition could be clouded by some environmental hazard you’ve been exposed to. Because in the “incredibly toxic” world we live in today, they are everywhere.
That’s what I want to talk about today. Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Last fall, I wrote a story that remains one of the most read pieces I’ve ever done. It was about a woman named Miriam, who managed to completely reverse her MCI and return to cognitively normal. And I walked readers through the process of how she did that, every step of the way.
Miriam did all the things you’re supposed to do: diet, exercise, all of it. And yet, her cognition wouldn’t entirely improve — until she went to a new neurologist, who gave her a test that she had never gotten before. It showed high levels of mercury and arsenic in her brain. And as soon as they were detected and flushed out of her system, she did finally return to cognitively normal.
Miriam’s story stuck with me. I thought, mold, fungi, toxins, heavy metals. These things can damage cognition. And I need to talk about them more.
She is the pre-eminent expert on environmental hazards and cognition, and also the former chief medical officer for Dr. Dale Bredesen. I was fortunate enough to get an interview with her, and boy did she school on this topic.
“From a toxic perspective, we all have the responsibility of knowing the dangers we put our body through in life,” Dr. Ross told me. “We have created a world that is incredibly toxic. We don’t realize all the things that add to our toxic burden. But eventually you reach a tipping point and become ill.”
Now I’ve included a link above to my full article with Dr. Ross, but today I want to share a few key points.
For instance, after I wrote about Miriam, I stopped eating tuna. Because I know that it can contain mercury, and that scared me off of it. But I wanted Dr. Ross’ opinion. Was giving up tuna a good idea, or an overreaction?
“I would tell you that’s very smart,” she told me. “I don’t eat any of those larger fish for the same reason. I think mercury toxicity is a big problem. We store them in fat. They get stored in our brain.”
Now she does recommend to her patients that they eat fish as part of a brain-healthy diet, but she encourages them to eat the smaller cold-water fish that are sometimes called the SMASH fish: sardines, mackerel, anchovies, wild caught salmon and herring.
Another thing that concerns Dr. Ross tremendously is exposure to household mold. It’s something she experienced herself, and you can read more about that in my article, and it’s also something that she sees in her patients.
“I feel mold toxicity is one of the biggest drivers,” she told me. “It releases mycotoxins, nanoparticles that we can inhale and they can become lodged in our lungs and even enter our brains. They are small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier and lodge in our brain. People can develop cancers, they can develop lung disease, they can develop Alzheimer’s.”
And the list of environmental hazards just goes on and on. Lead. It’s in everything from the gas you pump to the lipstick you wear. Arsenic. It can be found in apple juice, or orange juice, or rice.
The thing is, these types of hazards can be detected, treated and avoided. But most people with mild cognitive impairment aren’t even tested for these things. You could have them in your system and not even know it.
It’s interesting. I don’t know how closely you follow the teachings of Dr. Dale Bredesen, who Dr. Ross has worked so closely with. But Dr. Bredesen thinks that environmental toxins can be a key contributor to cognitive loss, and he contends that all adults over the age of 45 should be tested for mercury and mycotoxins.
Now whether you seek testing or not is up to you, but you at least need to understand the risks, because they’re real, and they’re everywhere around you. For more information, I invite you to read my full article, and you can find it here. There’s also a link to my article on Miriam, and how she reversed her MCI.
I hope that may be helpful to you, and I hope to see you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.