When we finish growing, we have approximately 85 billion brain cells. We lose on average 8000 cells per day. But we can lose more or less that that, depending upon many adjustable factors. As the brain loses brain cells and the connections between brain cells, it loses cognitive function, and a person is diagnosed with dementia. A diagnosis of dementia requires that at least two core mental functions are impaired enough to interfere with one's ability to conduct independent activities of daily living. These functions are:
ability to focus and pay attention
ability to reason and problem-solve, and
Alzheimer's Disease is the commonest cause of dementia (approximately 70%). It results in the production of amyloid plaque and tangles of a protein called tau, between the cells in the brain.
Vascular dementia causes about 20% dementias, and is caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the brain that supply nutrients and remove wastes.
342,800 people in Australia were estimated to have dementia in 2015. This is projected to increase to almost 400, 000 by 2020, and 900,000 by 2050.
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) has been categorised into 5 types of causes by Dr Dale Bredesen at the Buck Institute for Research into Aging. Any person can have any combination of these causes.
Type 1 - inflammatory - inflammation is triggered in the brain, leading to the withdrawal of connections between neurons, and then the cell death. There are many possible triggers of neuro-inflammation, includes high blood sugar, insulin resistance, increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), Identifying the triggers, and removing them, can lead to the growth of new connections between neurons, and the growth of new neurons, especially in the memory centre of the brain (hippocampus).
Type 2 - atrophic - the loss of hormones and nutrients that cause neuron growth and support their function. These hormones include growth hormone, IGF-1, testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, trip-iodynine (T3), calcitriol. Nutrients include magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, B2, B6, B9, B12, C, E. Identifying missing hormones and nutrients, and replacing them, can trigger the growth of new connections between neurons, and the growth of new neurons. This results in increased cognitive function and the ability to better perform the activities of daily living.
Type 1.5 - glycotoxic. This type is a combination of Types 1 and 2. It is due to the inflammatory effect of high blood sugar (causing advanced glycation end products) combined with the neurotrophic withdrawal of insulin's growth support by insulin resistance (high insulin levels in the blood, but not working in the cells).
Type 3 - toxic. This type is caused by infections and toxins that trigger neuroinflammation and nerve cell dysfunction and death. Infections include viral (HSV, EBV, CMV, HSV6, Lyme Disease, Babesia, Bartonella, fungal, MARCoNS). Toxins include mercury (from dental amalgams and fish), aluminium (and other heavy metals and minerals), mycotoxins (from fungi in the environment or growing on (intranasal, intrasinus) or in the body (in the biofilm on foreign objects - dental implants, joint implants, breast implants). Common mycotoxins are trichothenes (Stachybotrys), Ochratoxin A (Penicillium), aflatoxin (Aspergillus). Removing the source of the infection or toxicity and repairing the damage done allows nerve cells to rego, and cognitive function to improve.
Type 4 - vascular. Vascular dementia is caused by damage to the tiny capillaries that supply blood and nutrients to, and remove waste products from, the brain. There are many factors that cause damage to these blood vessels, such as high homocysteine, high glucose, high lipoprotein a, high CRP, high endotoxin (LPS), and low testosterone, estradiol, progesterone. Removing the damaging factors and adding the supportive factors leads to improved blood supply and better brain functioning.
Type 5 - traumatic. One large, or multiple small physical or chemical traumas to the brain can promote the onset of a neuroinflammatory cascade that leads over time to nerve cell dysfunction and death and worsening cognitive function.
Identifying which factors apply to an individual with cognitive decline, and reversing them, leads to improvement in cognitive function, and the reversal of subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and if caught early enough, even Alzheimer's Disease.