It seems as though everyone has a blog these days. I was inspired to start a blog, not because I have anything earth shattering to report, but rather because I wanted to share the research that I have been compelled to do for the last two years.
My beloved father is 91 years old and has advanced dementia. I refused to accept that his age was the sole reason for the deterioration of his brilliant mind. He has two 91 year old friends whom are thriving and I needed to learn why my dad wasn’t thriving.
When his symptoms became noticeable (I believe he concealed them for years), I felt a sense of panic and became determined to learn everything about this horrific disease. I searched frantically for a cure, or at least for anything that could delay the progression of his dementia.
I have become fascinated with the emerging field of Epigenetics which is based on the theory that certain biological mechanisms turn on or turn off our genes and these controllable mechanisms are largely responsible for chronic diseases. There is a staggering statistic that 10% of disease is due to genes and the remaining 90% is due to lifestyle. I learned about the current healthcare system and how it was designed to effectively treat infections and accidents, but may not have the best approach to treat chronic disease–which is what will kill most of us today. Rather than treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals (the domain of allopathic medicine), a holistic approach which looks at the cause will prove to be the most effective.
I investigated past attempts of the pharmaceutical industry to create drugs to address the amyloid plaques found in the brains of people with dementia. Evidently, targetting one symptom of the disease was ineffective for a disease that appears to be multifactorial. Many of these factors thought to contribute to dementia are lifestyle choices and often can’t be monetized. I can’t help but wonder if there is an inherent financial disincentive for our healthcare system to “cure” dementia.
I have read again and again that the projected numbers for people (worldwide) getting dementia is staggering and growing exponentially.
While I am neither a medical doctor (although, I am a juris doctor!) nor a scientist (I am an aspiring scientist), I can’t help but draw my own conclusions from all that I have learned. One of these conclusions is that while “symptom treatment”, the approach of most allopathic doctors is not going to help with the onslaught of chronic disease, I believe that the approach of “prevention” that many functional and integrative doctors are recommending, is flawed as well. We simply cannot prevent bad things occurring in our future. Disease, disaster and tragedy are unavoidable in life. I sincerely believe that RESILIENCE is the best approach. We need to figure out how to strengthen our individual immune systems, as well as our minds to become more resilient. That way, when disease, disaster and tragedy find us, we will be able to react with strength and fight to the best of our ability.
This blog will reflect the latest research and developments in dementia and Alzheimer’s research. I hope it is helpful.
Emily Gold Mears