Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Treated with Acupuncture

One Acupuncture treatment addresses Parkinson’s and chronic shoulder pain for Marcus

acupuncture patientThe ancient Chinese method of acupuncture has been used for thousands of years throughout the world. It is a widely accepted practice in the West that has been shown to help treat a long list of ailments.

Treating Alzheimer's Symptoms with Acupuncture

Prevention is the best treatment, at San Carlos Acupuncture Dr. Kniskern Confirms there is a Strategy to Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer’s.

“Dementia” is an umbrella term covering an array of neurological diseases and conditions that develop when neurons in your brain die or cease to function normally. The death or malfunction of neurons causes changes in memory, behavior and ability to think.

Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most serious form of dementia, eventually leads to the inability to carry out even the most basic of bodily functions, such as swallowing or walking. Alzheimer’s is ultimately fatal, as conventional treatment options are few and limited in effectiveness.

Disturbingly, Alzheimer’s has reached epidemic proportions, currently affecting an estimated 5.4 million Americans.1 In the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect 1 in 4 Americans, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes and by 2050, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are projected to triple.2,3

Already, more than half a million Americans die from the disease each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disease and cancer.4,5 Considering there’s no known cure and so few treatments, prevention is key.

Top Environmental Risk Factors Identified

As with autism, it’s quite reasonable to suspect that a variety of factors are at play, collectively contributing to the rapid rise in Alzheimer’s prevalence.

Experts at the Edinburgh University’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre have now compiled a list of top environmental risk factors thought to be contributing to the epidemic.6,7,8 As reported by BBC News:9

“Dementia is known to be associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure in mid-life, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression and low educational attainment, as well as genetic factors.

But the Edinburgh researchers said a third of dementia risk was unexplained, and they want to determine whether other issues are at play, including the environment.”

Not surprisingly (if you’ve been paying attention to the research), vitamin D deficiency, air pollution and occupational pesticide exposure top this list. Living close to power lines also has “limited yet robust” evidence suggesting it may influence your susceptibility to dementia.

All Forms of Air Pollution Raise Your Dementia Risk

The risk factor with the most robust body of research behind it is air pollution. In fact, they couldn’t find a single study that didn’t show a link between exposure to air pollution and dementia. Particulate matter, nitric oxides, ozone and carbon monoxide have all been linked to an increased risk.

Aside from raising your risk for dementia, a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report10 on environmentally related deaths claim that 1 in 4 deaths worldwide are now related to living and working in a toxic environment — with air pollution being the greatest contributor to this risk. As noted by WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan:

“A healthy environment underpins a healthy population. If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young.”

During the World Health Assembly, held in May 2016, WHO vowed it “will propose a roadmap to increase the global response by the health sector to reduce the effects of air pollution.”

Pollution, Diabetes and Dementia

American researchers have also warned that exposure to air pollution for as little as one or two months may be enough to increase your risk of diabetes — especially if you’re obese.11

Diabetes, in turn, is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s, doubling your chances of contracting this devastating form of dementia. Alzheimer’s was even tentatively referred to as type 3 diabetes at one time.

Recent research has also confirmed that the greater an individual’s insulin resistance, the less sugar they have in key parts of their brain, and these areas typically correspond to the areas affected by Alzheimer’s.12,13

Needless to say, the most significant contributor to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is not pollution but rather your diet. More specifically, eating a diet that is excessively high in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) and too low in healthy fats, which I will discuss further below, can contribute to insulin resistance.

Sensible Sun Exposure Is Important for Brain Health

The Scottish Dementia Research Centre also noted there’s a very clear link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. Indeed, studies have shown vitamin D plays a critical role in brain health, immune function, gene expression and inflammation — all of which influence Alzheimer’s.

In a 2014 study,14 considered to be the most robust study of its kind at the time, those who were severely deficient in vitamin D had a 125 percent higher risk of developing some form of dementia compared to those with normal levels. According to the authors:

“Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.”

The findings also suggest there’s a threshold level of circulating vitamin D, below which your risk for dementia increases. This threshold was found to be right around 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Please recognize that higher levels are associated with better brain health.

Based on a broader view of the available science, 20 ng/ml is still far too low, as the bulk of the research suggests a healthy range is between 40 to 60 ng/ml, certainly no lower than 40 ng/ml. Sadly, a vast majority of people are severely deficient, in large part because they’ve been fooled into fearing sun exposure.

Researchers have previously estimated that half of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Among seniors, that estimate reaches as high as 95 percent. This suggests vitamin D may be a very important factor for successful prevention among the general population.

A wide variety of brain tissue contains vitamin D receptors, and when they’re activated by vitamin D, it facilitates nerve growth in your brain.

Researchers also believe that optimal vitamin D levels boost levels of important brain chemicals, and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on your brain through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which are well established.

Heart and Brain Health Are Closely Linked

It may be helpful to remember that Alzheimer’s shares many risk factors with heart disease.15 This includes smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, high fasting blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and obesity.16

Arterial stiffness (atherosclerosis) is associated with a hallmark process of Alzheimer’s, namely the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in your brain.

The American Heart Association (AHA) also warns there’s a strong association between hypertension and brain diseases such as vascular cognitive impairment (loss of brain function caused by impaired blood flow to your brain) and dementia.17

In one clinical trial, test subjects who consumed high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) developed higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease in just two weeks, demonstrating just how influential your diet can be on your heart and brain health in the long term.

Such findings dovetail nicely with the conclusions reached by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of “Grain Brain,” and “Brain Maker,” who has concluded that anything that promotes insulin resistance will ultimately also raise your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise Is Important for Alzheimer’s Prevention

The good news is that lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and sleep can have a significant impact on your risk. As previously noted by Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine — where they study healthy aging — lifestyle changes “look more promising than the drug studies so far” when it comes to addressing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.18

Exercise, for example, has been shown to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and also improves quality of life if you’ve already been diagnosed.19 In one study,20 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s who participated in a four-month-long supervised exercise program had significantly fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the disease (especially mental speed and attention) than the non-exercising control group.

Other studies21 have shown that aerobic exercise helps reduce tau levels in the brain. (Brain lesions known as tau tangles form when the protein tau collapses into twisted strands that ends up killing your brain cells.) According to co-author Laura Baker:

“These findings are important because they strongly suggest a potent lifestyle intervention such as aerobic exercise can impact Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain. No currently approved medication can rival these effects.”

Cognitive function and memory22 can also be improved through regular exercise, and this effect is in part related to the effect exercise has on neurogenesis and the regrowth of brain cells. By targeting a gene pathway called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), exercise actually promotes brain cell growth and connectivity.

In one year-long study, elderly individuals who exercised grew and expanded their brain’s memory center by as much as 2 percent per year, where typically that center shrinks with age. It’s also been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,23 thus slowing the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research24 has shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less of this protein in their brains, and that cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s.

Eating for Brain Health

Reducing your net carbs and increasing healthy fat consumption are another important part of the equation, and my optimized nutrition plan can set you on the right path in that regard.

Research25 from the Mayo Clinic reveals that diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89 percent increased risk for dementia while high-fat diets are associated with a 44 percent reduced risk. Perlmutter places most of his patients on a ketogenic, high-fat and low-net-carb diet that is gluten-free, along with prescribed exercise.

One of the easiest ways to optimize your diet is to make sure you’re only eating real food. Avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they contain a number of ingredients harmful to your brain, including refined sugar, processed fructose, grains (particularly gluten), genetically engineered (GE) ingredients and pesticides like glyphosate (an herbicide thought to be worse than DDT, which has already been linked to Alzheimer’s). Opting for organic produce will help you avoid toxic pesticides.

Also choose organic grass-fed meats and animal products, as animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are routinely fed GE grains contaminated with pesticides, along with a variety of drugs. Some researchers have even suggested Alzheimer’s may be a slow-acting form of mad cow disease, acquired by eating contaminated meats. It’s a rather compelling theory, considering mad cow disease originated in the CAFO system, where herbivores are forced to eat animal parts.

To Protect Your Heart and Brain, Trade Sugar for Healthy Fats, and Other Helpful Tips

Ideally, keep your added sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you already have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders.

Healthy fats to add to your diet include avocados, butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk, organic pastured egg yolks, MCT oil, coconuts and coconut oil (coconut oil, and to an even greater degree MCT oil, show particular promise against Alzheimer’s) and raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia, both of which have a near-ideal ratio of protein and healthy fats.

Avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats that have been modified in such a way to extend their longevity on the grocery store shelf. This includes margarine, vegetable oils and various butter-like spreads. It’s also advisable to:

  • Avoid gluten. Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream where they sensitize your immune system and promote inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

  • Optimize your gut health by avoiding processed foods, antibiotics and antibacterial products, fluoridated and chlorinated water and by regularly eating traditionally fermented and cultured foods, along with a high-quality probiotic if needed.

  • Optimize your vitamin D. This is ideally done through sensible sun exposure, but as a last resort, vitamin D3 supplements are better than nothing. Just make sure you also increase your intake of vitamin K2 if you take an oral vitamin D supplement. As for dosage, the “right” dose is one that will keep your blood level between 40 and 60 ng/ml.

  • Improve your magnesium levels. Not only does magnesium work in tandem with vitamin D and K2, preliminary research also suggests higher levels of magnesium in the brain help decrease Alzheimer symptoms. Magnesium threonate is one of the few magnesium supplements that appears to be able to actually cross the blood brain barrier, making it my first choice.

  • Increase your intake of animal-based omega-3. I prefer krill oil to fish oil here, as krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which appears to be particularly beneficial for brain health.

Other Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies

Besides exercise and the key dietary instructions just mentioned, the following suggestions may also be helpful for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease:

Fasting

Ketones are mobilized when you replace nonfiber carbs with healthy fats. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the insulin/leptin resistance that is a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s.

A folate-rich diet

Vegetables are your best form of folate, and you’d be wise to eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day. Avoid supplements like folic acid, which is the inferior synthetic version of folate.

If you enjoy black coffee, keep the habit

While I would not encourage you to drink coffee if you’re not already a coffee drinker, if you enjoy it, there’s good news. Caffeine triggers the release of BDNF that activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, thereby improving your brain health.

In one study, people with mild cognitive impairment whose blood levels of caffeine were higher (due to coffee consumption) were less likely to progress to full-blown dementia compared to those who did not drink coffee.26 In another study, older women whose coffee consumption was above average had a lower risk of dementia.27

Just make sure your coffee is organic, as coffee tends to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. For more details on making your coffee habit as healthy as possible, please see my previous article, “Black Coffee in the Morning May Provide Valuable Health Benefits.”

Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body

Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you really should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body

Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware and vaccine adjuvants, just to mention some of the most common ones. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.”

Avoid flu vaccinations

Most flu vaccines contain both mercury and aluminum.

Avoid statins and anticholinergic drugs

Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence and certain narcotic pain relievers.

Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Get plenty of restorative sleep

Sleep is necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain. Wakefulness is associated with mitochondrial stress; without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in. While sleep problems are common in Alzheimer’s patients, poor sleep may also be contributing to the disease by driving the buildup of amyloid plaques in your brain.

While you sleep, your brain flushes out waste materials, and if you don’t sleep well, this natural detoxification and clean-out process will be severely hampered.

Challenge your mind daily

Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

More to come: Treatment of Alzheimer’s www.sancarlosacupuncture.com

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Every person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences the disease differently, but patients tend to experience a similar trajectory from the beginning of the illness to its merciful end. The precise number of stages is somewhat arbitrary. Some experts use a simple three-phase model (early, moderate and end), while others have found a granular breakdown to be a more useful aid to understanding the progression of the illness.

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

The most common system, developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University, breaks the progression of Alzheimer’s disease into seven stages. This framework for understanding the progression of Alzheimer’s disease has been adopted and used by a number of healthcare providers as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here is summary of the seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease based on the ideas of Dr. Resiberg:

Stage 1: No Impairment

During this stage, Alzheimer’s disease is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline

The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by physicians or loved ones.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

At this stage, the friends and family members of the senior may begin to notice memory and cognitive problems. Performance on memory and cognitive tests are affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.

Patients in stage 3 will have difficulty in many areas including:

  • finding the right word during conversations

  • remembering names of new acquaintances

  • planning and organizing

People with stage three Alzheimer’s may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

In stage four of Alzheimer’s disease clear cut symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are apparent. Patients with stage four Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Have difficulty with simple arithmetic

  • May forget details about their life histories

  • Have poor short term memory (may not recall what they ate for breakfast, for example)

  • Inability to manage finance and pay bills

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

During the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s, patients begin to need help with many day to day activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

  • Significant confusion

  • Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number

  • Difficulty dressing appropriately

On the other hand, patients in stage five maintain a modicum of functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

Stage 6: Severe Decline

Patients with the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s disease need constant supervision and frequently require professional care. Symptoms include:

  • Confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings

  • Major personality changes and potential behavior problems

  • The need for assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting and bathing

  • Inability to recognize faces except closest friends and relatives

  • Inability to remember most details of personal history

  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

  • Wandering

Stages 7: Very Severe Decline

Stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s disease is a terminal illness, patients in stage seven are nearing death. In stage seven of the disease, patients lose ability to respond to their environment or communicate. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living. In the final stages of the illness, patients may lose their ability to swallow.

 

The ancient Chinese method of acupuncture has been used for thousands of years throughout the world. It is a widely accepted practice in the West that has been shown to help treat a long list of ailments.

Treating Alzheimer's Symptoms with Acupuncture

A number of studies have shown that acupuncture can also have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease, improving mood as well as cognitive skills. Learn more about acupuncture and what it can do to help people living with Alzheimer’s.

What is Acupuncture?

For the last 3,500 years, acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of ailments. The ancient Chinese practice theorizes that there are patterns of energy called Qi, that flow through the body and are essential for good health. When Qi is interrupted, it is believed that disease can occur. Acupuncture doctors feel they can fix the disruption by inserting needles in specific locations and patterns to help restore the correct energy flow and treat the disease.

Acupuncture is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. and is now widely practiced in the West. Although there have been many studies to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture, many are inconclusive because of the strong possibility for a placebo effect. However, promising results have been reported when acupuncture has been used as treatment for a variety of ailments including:

  • Nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy and/or surgery

  • ADD

  • Addiction

  • Autism

  • Depression

  • Stroke rehabilitation

  • Headaches

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Low back pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Asthma

Positive Effects of Acupuncture on Alzheimer’s

Two separate studies have shown that acupuncture may be able to help people with Alzheimer’s. In both studies, researchers found that acupuncture improves the lives of patients with the disease by increasing verbal and motor skills and improves mood and cognitive function.

The study conducted at Wellesley College in 2000 concluded that acupuncture could treat anxiety and depression for people who have Alzheimer’s. The study involved 11 participants who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia. Participants received acupuncture treatment 2-3 times per week for three months. Following treatment, researchers evaluated the mood of participants and found substantial increases in mood and energy while decreasing pain caused by other ailments as a result of the aging process. Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, et al, of Wellesley College encouraged caregivers and patients to give acupuncture a try, saying:

“I think people should check it out. Besides anxiety and depression, they are likely to have other issues such as pain that can be significantly helped with acupuncture.”

A second study was completed at the University of Hong Kong in 2000. This study administered acupuncture treatments to eight patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Participants received acupuncture for 7 days in a row, followed by 3 days of rest then continuing the protocol with treatment on alternating days, ie, Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the duration of the Patient’s program.The research team concluded that after treatments were finished, “participants shows significant improvement in memory and attention, as well as increased motor and verbal skills.”

While neither study provides conclusive evidence that acupuncture can definitively treat Alzheimer’s, their studies show promising results and lay the foundation for longer and more controlled studies which could drastically improve the lives of patients living with Alzheimer’s.

Their results have launched more research in evaluating the effects of acupuncture on the brain, which confirmed that acupuncture activated regions of the brain that were impaired in patients who had Alzheimer’s, giving more credence to the theory that acupuncture can have a potential positive effect on memory.

In Alzheimer’s animal models, acupuncture stimulation at acupoints enhances cholinergic neurotransmission, trophic factor releasing, reduces apoptotic and oxidative damages, improves synaptic plasticity and decreases the levels of Aβ proteins in the hippocampus and relevant brain regions. (In other words acupuncture enhances the communication between brain cells via the neurotransmission of acetylcholine.)The biochemical modulations by acupuncture in the brains of Alzheimer’s models are correlated with the cognitive improvement. In Alzheimer’s patients, functional brain images demonstrated that acupuncture increased in the activity in the temporal lobe and prefrontal lobe which are related to the memory and cognitive function. Acupuncture clinical studies represent an important step forward in the research of both acupuncture and Alzheimer’s. Here too, translation of acupuncture research in animal model studies into the human subjects will undoubtedly enhance acupuncture efficacy in clinical study and treatment which could eventually lead to a safer, well-tolerated and inexpensive form of care for Alzheimer’s patients.

DEMENTIA

Dementia is a cognitive impairment that can occur with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Most types of Dementia are degenerative, meaning they are non reversible. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of Dementia, but there are many forms this impairment can take. Some of the most common conditions that can lead to Dementia include Lewy Body Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, brain tumors, chronic alcohol abuse, brain injury, and strokes (which lead to vascular dementia).

In addition to memory loss, there are several common symptoms that accompany Dementia. Change in sleep patterns, waking often during the night, forgetting details, depression, agitation, or withdrawing from social contact are common side effects involved with this condition. Traditional Chinese Medicine provides a great deal of help in addressing conditions associated with Dementia. From acupuncture and micro-current to herbal remedies, Chinese Medicine provided by a well practiced and skillful doctor addresses these conditions for an aging population of patients looking for relief.

Acupuncture has shown promising results in treating the depression and anxiety associated with Dementia, as well as increasing patient’s verbal and motor skills and in increasing cognitive function. Two well known studies on the matter came out of Wellesley College Center for Research on Women and the University of Hong Kong. These studies, among others, were first presented at the World Alzheimer’s Conference in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the Wellesley study noted above, Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo and a team of colleagues at Wellesley College in Massachusetts studied 11 patients, 10 with Alzheimer’s and one with vascular dementia. Subjects were treated with acupuncture twice a week for three months, with each subject receiving a minimum of 22 treatments. Patients were subjected to a variety of tests before and after being treated, including the Cornell Scale for Depression, the Speilberger State Anxiety Inventory, and the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) for cognitive function.

The results stated “statistically significant improvements” in the depression and anxiety scores of patients. For example, the average Spielberger anxiety score at the start of treatment was 49.5; at the end of three months, it had decreased to 40.1. Four subjects experienced “substantial improvement” in mood symptoms after undergoing acupuncture; of those whose moods improved, two also showed improved MMSE scores, and a third improved in tests for fluency and naming ability.

While cognitive function was not measured scientifically (no control group was used), Lombardo said that those delivering treatment seemed to note an improvement in their subjects’ thinking skills along with the other improvements, which she believes indicates a close relationship between cognitive ability, anxiety and depression.

HERBS AND ALZHEIMER TREATMENT

Herbology is another component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A TCM practitioner will prescribe an herbal remedy specific to the patient-there is no “one size fits all” remedy in TCM. So, two patients who both have dementia and seek Chinese herbs could be prescribed very different mixtures. However, there are several Chinese herbs that are well known for their ability to assist in cognitive function and prevent memory loss. Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgoaceae) is an ancient Chinese tree that has been cultivated and held sacred for its health-promoting properties. There is substantial experimental evidence to support the view that the leaf extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb) has many pharmacological effects including helping the mind stay sharp, and strengthening memory. Radix Ginseng is Chinese herb that has been used since ancient times for neurological benefits. Its active compounds, including total ginsenosides, ginsenoside Rg1, and panaxynol, were found to possess central cholinomimetic and catecholaminomimetic activity, and can help balance the central nervous system as well as promote neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons, which is crucial for learning and memory). Another such herb is Danshen Root, which can inhibit inflammation in the brain. In essence, acupuncture studies have verified its use enhances the speed at which the brain will function correctly using it’s own neurotransmitters in memory and cognitive activity.

MICRO-CURRENT’S AMAZING TREATMENT OF BRAIN DISORDERS

Lastly, there is evidence that micro-current can help manage symptoms associated with Dementia such as anxiety, agitation and depression. Micro-current in it’s ability to facilitate conduction of energy or Qi through areas blocking nervous and Cerebral conduction (like the neck and shoulders also penetrates to the Cerebral Cortex and deeper brain structure), employ milli amperes of corrective stimulation much in the same way acupuncture points are used to help stimulate specific organs or parts of the body. The healing power of micro-current, as noted by Dr. Robert O. Becker in his ground breaking book, “The Body Electric,” provides a scientific examination of the bodies corrective electric current and how micro-current will reestablish this neurological function, thereby correcting and replenishing diminished physiology and the bodies own electric current in milliamperes, as required to reduce insomnia, increase rest, and relieve fears and anxiety. Traditional Chinese Medicine has many modalities to choose from, all of which can provide a safe and natural accompaniment to micro-current and other contemporary Western Dementia treatments.

For additional information or to make an appointment for treatment please see your web site at www.sancarlosacupuncture.com or call us at 650-593-4000.

 

7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

In this article

You can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition unfolds.

The stages don’t always fall into neat boxes, and the symptoms might vary — but they can be a guide and help you plan for your friend or relative’s care.

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Read the NMDA Receptor Antagonists and Alzheimer’s article > >

Stage 1: Normal Outward Behavior

When your loved one is in this early phase, he won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether he’s got Alzheimer’s.

As he moves into the next 6 stages, your friend or relative with Alzheimer’s will see more and more changes in his thinking and reasoning.

Stage 2: Very Mild Changes

You still might not notice anything amiss in your loved one’s behavior, but he may be picking up on small differences, things that even a doctor doesn’t catch. This could include forgetting a word or misplacing objects.

At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with his ability to work or live independently.

Keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer’s at all, but simply normal changes from aging.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

It’s at this point that you start to notice changes in your loved one’s thinking and reasoning, such as:

  • Forgets something he just read

  • Asks the same question over and over

  • Has more and more trouble making plans or organizing

  • Can’t remember names when meeting new people

You can help by being your loved one’s “memory” for him, making sure he pays bills and gets to appointments on time. You can also suggest he ease stress by retiring from work and putting his legal and financial affairs in order.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

During this period, the problems in thinking and reasoning that you noticed in stage 3 get more obvious, and new issues appear. Your friend or family member might:

  • Forget details about himself

  • Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check

  • Forget what month or season it is

  • Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu

You can help with everyday chores and his safety. Make sure he isn’t driving anymore, and that someone isn’t trying to take advantage of him financially.

A number of studies have shown that acupuncture can also have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease, improving mood as well as cognitive skills. Learn more about acupuncture and what it can do to help people living with Alzheimer’s.

What is Acupuncture?

For the last 3,500 years, acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of ailments. The ancient Chinese practice theorizes that there are patterns of energy called Qi, that flow through the body and are essential for good health. When Qi is interrupted, it is believed that disease can occur. Acupuncture doctors feel they can fix the disruption by inserting needles in specific locations and patterns to help restore the correct energy flow and treat the disease.

Acupuncture is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. and is now widely practiced in the West. Although there have been many studies to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture, many are inconclusive because of the strong possibility for a placebo effect. However, promising results have been reported when acupuncture has been used as treatment for a variety of ailments including:

  • Nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy and/or surgery

  • ADD

  • Addiction

  • Autism

  • Depression

  • Stroke rehabilitation

  • Headaches

  • Menstrual cramps

     

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Low back pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Asthma
  • Osteoarthritis

  • Low back pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Alzheimers

  • Fibromyalgia

     

Positive Effects of Acupuncture on Alzheimer’s

Two separate studies have shown that acupuncture may be able to help people with Alzheimer’s. In both studies, researchers found that acupuncture improves the lives of patients with the disease by increasing verbal and motor skills and improves mood and cognitive function.

The study conducted at Wellesley College in 2000 concluded that acupuncture could treat anxiety and depression for people who have Alzheimer’s. The study involved 11 participants who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia. Participants received acupuncture treatment 2-3 times per week for three months. Following treatment, researchers evaluated the mood of participants and found substantial increases in mood and energy while decreasing pain caused by other ailments as a result of the aging process. Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, et al, of Wellesley College encouraged caregivers and patients to give acupuncture a try, saying:

“I think people should check it out. Besides anxiety and depression, they are likely to have other issues such as pain that can be significantly helped with acupuncture.”

A second study was completed at the University of Hong Kong in 2000. This study administered acupuncture treatments to eight patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Participants received acupuncture for 7 days in a row, followed by 3 days of rest then continuing the protocol with treatment on alternating days, ie, Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the duration of the Patient’s program.The research team concluded that after treatments were finished, “participants shows significant improvement in memory and attention, as well as increased motor and verbal skills.”

While neither study provides conclusive evidence that acupuncture can definitively treat Alzheimer’s, their studies show promising results and lay the foundation for longer and more controlled studies which could drastically improve the lives of patients living with Alzheimer’s.

Their results have launched more research in evaluating the effects of acupuncture on the brain, which confirmed that acupuncture activated regions of the brain that were impaired in patients who had Alzheimer’s, giving more credence to the theory that acupuncture can have a potential positive effect on memory.

In Alzheimer’s animal models, acupuncture stimulation at acupoints enhances cholinergic neurotransmission, trophic factor releasing, reduces apoptotic and oxidative damages, improves synaptic plasticity and decreases the levels of Aβ proteins in the hippocampus and relevant brain regions. (In other words acupuncture enhances the communication between brain cells via the neurotransmission of acetylcholine.)The biochemical modulations by acupuncture in the brains of Alzheimer’s models are correlated with the cognitive improvement. In Alzheimer’s patients, functional brain images demonstrated that acupuncture increased in the activity in the temporal lobe and prefrontal lobe which are related to the memory and cognitive function. Acupuncture clinical studies represent an important step forward in the research of both acupuncture and Alzheimer’s. Here too, translation of acupuncture research in animal model studies into the human subjects will undoubtedly enhance acupuncture efficacy in clinical study and treatment which could eventually lead to a safer, well-tolerated and inexpensive form of care for Alzheimer’s patients.

DEMENTIA

Dementia is a cognitive impairment that can occur with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Most types of Dementia are degenerative, meaning they are non reversible. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of Dementia, but there are many forms this impairment can take. Some of the most common conditions that can lead to Dementia include Lewy Body Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, brain tumors, chronic alcohol abuse, brain injury, and strokes (which lead to vascular dementia).

In addition to memory loss, there are several common symptoms that accompany Dementia. Change in sleep patterns, waking often during the night, forgetting details, depression, agitation, or withdrawing from social contact are common side effects involved with this condition. Traditional Chinese Medicine provides a great deal of help in addressing conditions associated with Dementia. From acupuncture and micro-current to herbal remedies, Chinese Medicine provided by a well practiced and skillful doctor addresses these conditions for an aging population of patients looking for relief.

Acupuncture has shown promising results in treating the depression and anxiety associated with Dementia, as well as increasing patient’s verbal and motor skills and in increasing cognitive function. Two well known studies on the matter came out of Wellesley College Center for Research on Women and the University of Hong Kong. These studies, among others, were first presented at the World Alzheimer’s Conference in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the Wellesley study noted above, Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo and a team of colleagues at Wellesley College in Massachusetts studied 11 patients, 10 with Alzheimer’s and one with vascular dementia. Subjects were treated with acupuncture twice a week for three months, with each subject receiving a minimum of 22 treatments. Patients were subjected to a variety of tests before and after being treated, including the Cornell Scale for Depression, the Speilberger State Anxiety Inventory, and the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) for cognitive function.

The results stated “statistically significant improvements” in the depression and anxiety scores of patients. For example, the average Spielberger anxiety score at the start of treatment was 49.5; at the end of three months, it had decreased to 40.1. Four subjects experienced “substantial improvement” in mood symptoms after undergoing acupuncture; of those whose moods improved, two also showed improved MMSE scores, and a third improved in tests for fluency and naming ability.

While cognitive function was not measured scientifically (no control group was used), Lombardo said that those delivering treatment seemed to note an improvement in their subjects’ thinking skills along with the other improvements, which she believes indicates a close relationship between cognitive ability, anxiety and depression.

HERBS AND ALZHEIMER TREATMENT

Herbology is another component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A TCM practitioner will prescribe an herbal remedy specific to the patient-there is no “one size fits all” remedy in TCM. So, two patients who both have dementia and seek Chinese herbs could be prescribed very different mixtures. However, there are several Chinese herbs that are well known for their ability to assist in cognitive function and prevent memory loss. Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgoaceae) is an ancient Chinese tree that has been cultivated and held sacred for its health-promoting properties. There is substantial experimental evidence to support the view that the leaf extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb) has many pharmacological effects including helping the mind stay sharp, and strengthening memory. Radix Ginseng is Chinese herb that has been used since ancient times for neurological benefits. Its active compounds, including total ginsenosides, ginsenoside Rg1, and panaxynol, were found to possess central cholinomimetic and catecholaminomimetic activity, and can help balance the central nervous system as well as promote neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons, which is crucial for learning and memory). Another such herb is Danshen Root, which can inhibit inflammation in the brain. In essence, acupuncture studies have verified its use enhances the speed at which the brain will function correctly using it’s own neurotransmitters in memory and cognitive activity.

MICRO-CURRENT’S AMAZING TREATMENT OF BRAIN DISORDERS

Lastly, there is evidence that micro-current can help manage symptoms associated with Dementia such as anxiety, agitation and depression. Micro-current in it’s ability to facilitate conduction of energy or Qi through areas blocking nervous and Cerebral conduction (like the neck and shoulders also penetrates to the Cerebral Cortex and deeper brain structure), employ milli amperes of corrective stimulation much in the same way acupuncture points are used to help stimulate specific organs or parts of the body. The healing power of micro-current, as noted by Dr. Robert O. Becker in his ground breaking book, “The Body Electric,” provides a scientific examination of the bodies corrective electric current and how micro-current will reestablish this neurological function, thereby correcting and replenishing diminished physiology and the bodies own electric current in milliamperes, as required to reduce insomnia, increase rest, and relieve fears and anxiety. Traditional Chinese Medicine has many modalities to choose from, all of which can provide a safe and natural accompaniment to micro-current and other contemporary Western Dementia treatments.

In essence, acupuncture studies have verified its use enhances the speed at which the brain will function correctly using it’s own neurotransmitters in memory and cognitive activity.

 

For additional information or to make an appointment for treatment please see your web site at www.sancarlosacupuncture.com or call us at 650-593-4000.