Neurodegenerative conditions are becoming more common throughout the world. They can begin up to 20 years prior to symptom onset in many cases. Unfortunately these conditions go undiagnosed for years and commonly are not diagnosed until symptoms worsen or it is too late.
There is a common theme in the neuropathophysiology of these conditions and all involve neurological structures and pathological metabolic processes. Tau protein misfolding and neurofibrillary tangles are hallmarks of these neurodegenerative conditions in the brains of these individuals. Aggregation of Tau protein and neurofibrillary tangles creates communication and transport abnormalities within the brain’s neurons.
(An example of this is to look at your neurons like the roads and traffic. When your brain is healthy your traffic looks like a leisurely Sunday drive, flow of traffic is smooth, and you get to your destination right on time or slightly ahead of time=efficient. PD and AD are like trying to drive in California rush-hour traffic which severely slows down transportation of signals from one area of the brain to another. This traffic jam happens in specific areas of the brain and can spread from there just like you see as rush hour begins. Unfortunately once this process starts, it will continue unless specific approaches are introduced to reduce the amount of traffic that piles up)
The area of the brain involved in Parkinson’s Disease is called the Midbrain which specifically affects the speed of movement, tone of muscles, blood flow and creates tremors of the head and limbs. Some of the hallmark findings in a history and examination of those at risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s Disease is a long history of constipation, loss of smell in one or both nostrils and a decreased arm swing on one side that is not related to an arm injury. Most commonly cognition is spared, but movement is greatly affected in PD.
The area of the brain involved in Alzheimer’s Disease is the Temporal Lobe and Hippocampus. The temporal lobe/hippocampus is mainly responsible for memory and cognition. Memory loss involving who people are, the time and place of appointments and events, as well as remembering self care (turning off an oven) are very common symptoms of AD. Some reports have shown that early signs of Alzheimer’s can be insomnia, depression, and minor memory problems.
Blood sugar stability, anemia, traumatic brain injury and chronic inflammation are major risk factors for developing neurodegenerative conditions. Alzheimer’s Disease has been called “Type-3 Diabetes” in the literature because elevated blood sugar has been found in so many cases of AD.
Our approach to neurodegenerative disorders like PD and AD are to address the underlying metabolic dysfunction, activate the regions of the brain found to be faulty during the examination and to promote improved brain-gut connectivity to hopefully reduce or slow the symptoms of these conditions.
We have been successful in our approach utilizing these applications, however we must note that all disease processes are different and not all cases are candidates for care.