I’m working on a book right now about how to slow, halt or reverse mild cognitive impairment, so I’ve been spending a lot of time lately talking to people who have been able to that. (Read the story of how Miriam reversed her MCI here.)
There are a lot of people like Miriam out there, and I’m learning a lot from them, just by asking them, “How? How were you able do that? What worked for you?”
Of course, there’s no simple answer. But there are answers. There are things that are working out there for real people in the real world. And that’s what I want to give you a glimpse of today.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Now, what it takes to slow, halt or reverse MCI is not something I can fully explain to you in a five-minute video. That’s why I’m writing a book.
But today, as a prelude to that, I want to share some of the basic ways that I’ve seen people end up stabilizing or improving their cognition. Because there’s kind of a tier of ways, and many people fall into one of those tiers.
I’m going to do that in a two-part series of videos, and this is Part 1.
The first tier is people with a single, simple, treatable cause of MCI. So let me give you a couple of examples.
A woman notices an alarming decline in her mother’s memory. She takes mom to a doctor, who does a perfunctory examination and says, “Yeah, looks like Alzheimer’s.” And the woman is like, “Eh, I don’t know.” So she goes and finds another doctor who really knows his stuff, and it turns out mom recently was put on a new medication and she’s having a bad reaction to it. The doctor weans her off the medication, and within weeks, her cognition returns to normal.
Another example would be someone with a vitamin B12 deficiency. It’s something that can happen as we age, and it can result in memory loss that looks like dementia. But it’s easily deleted with a blood test, and the person can be given an infusion of vitamin B12 and memory improves.
Now, if only, right? If only it were always that simple. Unfortunately, it’s usually not.
The next tier of people who have a primary contributor that’s not so simple.
Like one couple I know. The wife has MCI, and the husband is doing everything he can to help her. He got her on the Bredesen protocol. He takes her to exercise classes. He’s making sure she eats all the right foods.
But do you know what the No. 1 preventable cause of dementia is turning out to be? Statistically speaking, it’s alcohol abuse. (See my video on that topic here.) This woman has a drinking problem. And when she’s drinking heavily, her cognition is terrible. When she’s sober, her cognition is better. Nothing against the Bredesen protocol, but what this woman needs is sobriety.
The next tier is what I call the “Round Up the Usual Suspects” tier. And these are the usual suspects:
- Lack of exercise
- Lousy diet
- Stressed out to the max and not dealing with it
- Having a sleep disorder
Now I can’t prove this, but I’m convinced that the majority of people with MCI fall somewhere in this bucket. I get to talk a lot with the top doctors who specialize in MCI, and this is where they put a lot of their emphasis. If someone with MCI has a deficit in one or more of these areas, and it’s addressed, which it definitely can be, that person can do better cognitively.
Again, of course, that’s not everybody. I’m seeing a trend right now of people with MCI who feel they’re stuck. They generally know these things, and they’re trying. They’re exercising. They’re watching what they eat. But they don’t feel like they’re getting the results they want. They’re angry and frustrated and afraid. They’re like, why isn’t this working for me?
So that’s what I want to address in Part 2 of this series, which is coming next week.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from any of you who think you fall into one of the first three categories I talked about today. What have your experiences been? How have you been addressing it? What are you working on?
Tell me in a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you, and I look forward to seeing you again next week for Part 2 of this series. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.