New Understandings for Preventing and Reversing Dementia and Alzheimer's
May 01, 2016 11:15AM
New scientific understandings of health, called Omics, are shedding light on dementia and are challenging long held views about its causes and treatments. Omics is a suffix often added to hundreds of scientific fields of study which aims at holistic and collective characterizations and quantifications of vast pools of biological molecules that translate into the structure, function and dynamics of an organism or organisms. In other words, the amassed data in the biological sciences has become so huge that it must be organized in vast networks and arrays of associations in order for it to make any sense.
Discoveries in genomics (the Omics of over 20,000 genes), neuromics (the Omics of over 100 billion neurons in the brain and body) and toxicomics (the Omics of the hundreds of thousands of toxins that interact with the brain and body), have brought forth a new set of possibilities for prevention and treatment of dementia.
Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases associated with irreversible, gradual deficits in cognition and memory which are severe enough to affect a person's daily functioning, and which are worse than would be expected with normal aging. For decades, scientists have studied brain tissue samples of Alzheimer’s disease victims, the largest dementia subcategory (>50 percent), and have found distinctive pathological changes in brain tissue such as plaque and neurofibrillary tangles that are thought to somehow be causative of the disease.
For instance, in a study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Fiji Water, a high silicon spring water available over the counter, was shown to enhance excretion of aluminum, long-suspected of being a causative factor in Alzheimer’s, and improve cognitive performance in some participants. Mercury has also been suspected of being a toxicomics-related factor.
When we view this from the vast Omics perspective, another level of understanding emerges. Instead of being the initiators of Alzheimer's disease, amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles may occur consequent to oxidative stress, originating from such pro-oxidants as aluminum, mercury and other toxins, and instead function as a primary line of antioxidant defense. Plaque, then, accumulates as a defensive strategy against oxidative injury.
Another factor related here is ApoE (Apolipoprotein E), a component in a more extensive and routine blood lipid profile, which not only serves a role in cholesterol transport, but also plays a role in removing plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Those with the gene ApoE4 make a version of ApoE which removes plaque more slowly, which may explain why those with homozygous ApoE4 (from both parents) on genetic testing have a 20 times higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease than those with the normal genetic inheritance pattern (ApoE3). This may also explain why younger people with the ApoE4 gene have better memories—the extra plaque provides beneficial antioxidant protection in their early years.
The practical application of Omics technologies such as these is called Precision Medicine. However, simple gene and blood testing for ApoE is available from your doctor, which can help determine if you are at risk. Many other genetic variables which can predispose you to dementia are available through the website 23andMe.com and other genomic testing. Find a Precision Medicine doctor who can interpret these for you, and do Functional medicine testing to determine your levels of aluminum and mercury, as well as levels of general oxidative stress.
Protocols for those who have both a genetic risk and significant toxic metal levels, especially if they have a family history of dementia, would include: a heavy metal detoxification program; supplementing with high silicic acid water like Fiji water and/or BioSil (a supplement containing silicic acid); and tracking toxic metal levels over months or years to demonstrate improvements.
With Omics-related technologies and Precision Medicine, we now have hope for preventing and reversing dementia.
Dr. Charles Gant, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally known author and integrative/functional medicine physician, addresses the root causes of chronic medical and psychiatric disorder, unique to each patient. For more information, call 888-727-6910 or visit InternationalPrecisionMedicineAssociates.com.
Dr. Gant will be offering a free live talk/webinar in the near future.