Dementia & Me
Updated: Nov 28, 2019
My Mum aged 58 when she was diagnosed with dementia. Over twelve years I have watched her deteriorate from a loving mother, wife, friend and grandmother to a shell. She can no longer use her hands, walk, go to the toilet, feed herself, drink, speak - we don't even know if she can see anymore!!! Gradually coming to terms with a 'different' person week after week is torture. Sometimes I'm not even sure I remember how she used to be and then a memory will come flooding back and the sadness returns. Living with dementia evokes a myriad of feelings - despair, helplessness, guilt, anger, pain.
The reason I am writing about this is because I want, more than anything, to learn about the specific neuro-biology relating to this disease and absorb any nutritional information that may go 'some way' to helping early onset patients and people (like me) who are terrified at the thought of it being genetic, worrying every time they forget a name, date or why they went upstairs??!!
During my course we had numerous lectures on the nervous system. Having touched on neuroscience when learning about autism I was already hooked. Having learnt about the various systems in our body I had become acutely aware of how everything is intrinsically linked and had already questioned the role of nutrition in the progression of the disease.
There are many different types of dementia including vascular, front temporal, progressive supra nuclear, lewy body, immunologically mediated to name but a few. We all know they are a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long term and gradual decrease in our ability to think, organise and function. What we should be thinking about is WHY does it happen? I could launch into a long scientific spiel about the genetics of each strain but I fear you will leave my page so if you do want to learn more follow the link below.
Research is still being done and hypotheses worked on. Yes, there maybe a small genetic link but that is a minuscule part of the problem. As with all disease prevention and awareness are key. You may have a faulty gene but thats not to say you will develop dementia early - change your diet, change your lifestyle and you may go some way to keeping it at bay!!!
Dr Bredeson MD has recently published some pioneering research into the prevention of dementia and developed a nutritional protocol to follow (watch this space for more information I'm reading up on it)
"Bredeson says we need to measure our brain health markers in the same way we do cholesterol and blood pressure. His lifestyle programme to reverse memory decline could help revolutionise treatment for dementia, a disease he describes as an emergency" (Catherine Woulfe, The New Zealand Listener)
I hope to make dementia one of my specialisms...
I don't know how to write this as I don't know whether to start with I'm sorry or relieved, but my wonderful Mum passed away on May 10th 2017. The end of life phase was awful, she had little dignity and gradually (over three days) died of pneumonia. If I can go some way to helping anybody prevent this awful disease then I'm on my right path in life.......