For people with mild cognitive impairment, the days of “there’s not much we can do for you” are over.
There’s a lot they can do for you, and there’s a lot you can do for yourself.
When you put those two things together, the chances of halting or reversing MCI become pretty good.
Which is why I am pleased to announce a new partnership between GoCogno.com and Kemper Cognitive Wellness, a true leader and innovator in the treatment of cognitive impairment.
Kemper is joining up with me as a sponsor of my site, bringing new opportunities for me to serve you, and for both of us to advance our shared mission of helping people with MCI act early and aggressively in defense of their cognition.
Dr. Nate Bergman, chief scientific wellness officer for Kemper, is a leader in emerging treatments for MCI, and he can’t emphasize enough the importance of taking action early.
“The earlier we identify it, the more treatable it is,” Dr. Bergman says. “You can do something for everybody at every stage, but in terms of reversibility or really having a remission of symptoms, it seems that you have to get this earlier. Mild cognitive impairment is a perfect time to be taking major action.”
That is a message I’ve been spreading as well. Given how perfectly my approach aligns with Kemper’s, it did not take us long to find each other and see the potential for both of us to have a greater impact by working together.
Kemper Cognitive Wellness takes an integrative, whole-person approach to brain health. Using genetic, biological and cognitive testing, combined with environmental and lifestyle assessments, Kemper helps people identify and address the often complex factors that impact their memory and cognition.
That commitment to cognitive wellness is a family affair. Kristin Kemper West and Betty Kemper are the co-founders of Kemper Cognitive Wellness and Jenny Kemper serves as director.
“For the Kemper family, this is very personal,” Jenny Kemper says. “My father-in-law was diagnosed about 10 years ago with Alzheimer’s disease, and before that, his mother in the 1980s. Kristin asked herself, ‘Am I next? What about my children?'”
Jenny Kemper says the family saw answers in the latest research by Dr. Dale Bredesen and others, who are demonstrating that a combination of health behavior change and individualized, precision medicine can potentially prevent dementia, particularly when applied at the earliest stages of cognitive decline. That led Kristin and Betty to launch Kemper Cognitive Wellness in 2018.
“We’re working hard together to really change the face of what it means to have a diagnosis of cognitive impairment — whether it’s Alzheimer’s dementia or mild cognitive impairment — and really help people to live well and to push back against the disease,” Jenny Kemper says.
In 2019, Dr. Bergman joined Kemper, coming from the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, where he co-developed their program for cognitive impairment.
Dr. Bergman is among an emerging cadre of practitioners who dare to say that Alzheimer’s is preventable. Very recent scientific evidence shows it’s possible, as do the results that Dr. Bergman and his colleagues are seeing with their patients.
“It no longer makes sense to wait around for what many of us thought was inevitable — Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Bergman says. “There’s still a belief to some degree that there’s nothing you can do. However, since 2018, things are changing.”
Prior to that, he says, you could get “essentially laughed off the stage” for even suggesting that dementia is preventable.
“There are some serious neurologists who literally were laughed at for talking about things like Alzheimer’s prevention,” he says. “Now, if you do a literature search, if you Google it, you can use terms like risk reduction, you can use terms like precision medicine, you can use terms like prevention.”
He points to a recent report from the Lancet Commission finding that 40 percent of dementia cases could be prevented by addressing 12 risk factors.
Mild cognitive impairment is a complex condition with many possible causes. It doesn’t lend itself to the traditional model where the problem is cured by the discovery of a single, blockbuster medication.
Dr. Bergman, who worked with Dr. Dale Bredesen on the research that led to the “Bredesen protocol” and Bredesen’s best-selling book, “The End of Alzheimer’s,” says the answer is different for each patient, and involves a more sophisticated, individualized approach.
“As you know, there are many types of mild cognitive impairment,” he says. “You have to look at the drivers, and the causes. You have to identify as many causes or pieces, and then go forward dealing with those.”
Cognitive impairment is being addressed with an array of promising new treatments, and the experts who specialize in them often end up as guests on Dr. Bergman’s podcast, “Evolving Past Alzheimer’s.”
I am a huge fan of his podcast, and never miss it. I see him breaking new ground in every episode.
“I just love podcasting. I have learned so much from podcasting,” Dr. Bergman says. “I also learn better through listening. Audio works better for me than reading for certain kinds of things. And honestly, one of the reasons I started doing it is because it was such a good opportunity
to talk to people who I would want to talk to anyway.”
The Sherzais, Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Bergman are all experts who I’ve had the honor of interviewing and featuring on my site.
But this new partnership with Kemper allows me to go beyond an occasional article and work closely with them to offer you their deep expertise and resources on an ongoing basis.
Some of that will be medical information, but helping people make changes in their life and adopt healthier habits remains central to the treatment of MCI, and we’ll work together to spread the message of wellness and prevention as well.
“The first line of attack is generally lifestyle issues,” says Jenny Kemper, and key among those are nutrition, physical activity, restorative sleep and stress management.
“Those concepts seem easy but implementing them is where people get stuck, so we have a number of resources to not only educate people but then actually equip them as they go down that path,” she says.
These days, Kemper is using free online webinars and other approaches to show what can be done to “really dial in and push back against cognitive loss,” Jenny Kemper says.
“So we’re looking forward to partnering with GoCogno,” she says, “to offer educational content, workshops, perhaps some Facebook Lives for your audience.
“We do have resources within our company to equip individuals,” she says. “We have a registered dietitian nutritionist who’s phenomenal. We have health coaches, certified functional medicine health coaches. We also have certified brain trainers on staff, so a number of resources to support people in their journey.”
For people with MCI, that journey used to be a road to nowhere. But that has changed completely. Now, there is hope. And a path — which Kemper and GoCogno are partnering to help guide you along the way.
Jenny Kemper has a favorite saying from Dr. Bergman, who in turn credits it to Dr. Dale Bredesen.
“I love the quote Dr. Bergman shares that we’re at the dawn of the age of treatable neurodegenerative disease and it’s so exciting,” she says. “We look forward to continuing that message and that work with you.”