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Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions of Alzheimers and of our Owl's Nest Program
1What is the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
Dementia is actually the term for several disorders that usually cause memory loss, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. The term dementia is used when the problem becomes severe enough to interfere with your daily life.
The various forms of dementia are determined when it is clear a person has lost or has limited abilities in two of three cognitive areas. A doctor or neurologist will administer some mental test challenges – quite simple and some are even found free online. If the decline is present in two or three areas a diagnosis of dementia is given
There are many types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is one of these. One hears about Alzheimer’s disease because over 60% of the cases of dementia diagnosed are the dementia type called Alzheimer’s. The next most common types of dementia are vascular dementia (usually from uncontrolled high blood pressure), alcohol- related dementia, Parkinson’s dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
Some symptoms of dementia may occur due to medical problems which if diagnosed and remediated can reverse the dementia symptoms. Today many persons with Alzheimer’s need not face a downhill slide but can with appropriate lifestyle changes reverse the decline – if these changes are made early on into this mental decline. Contact us at the Owl’s Nest Oasis to learn how this can be done.
2What are the stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s has been described in several ways and there are different terms for these stages. The commonly accepted Reisberg scale defines seven stages. The stages of Alzheimer’s are as follows. (Note these symptoms vary from person to person both in their severity and time of appearance.)
  • Stage one: Having no symptoms (It is currently believed that Alzheimer’s begins about twenty years prior to any symptoms appearing.)
  • Stage two: Having mild cognitive decline but most people do not notice the gradual losses and the persons with symptoms may think they are just forgetful or “getting older”. Slower abilities finding right words, etc.
  • Stage three: Experiencing some confusion and the person may notice some challenges to their usual daily life routines. Difficulty organizing and performing complex tasks.
  • Stage four: Known as early Alzheimer’s, this stage most often shows as challenges in performing financial tasks, challenges with learning new tasks, and often some challenges with skills such as driving. Often some withdrawing from social activities. Forgetfulness obvious to others.
  • Stage five: Considered early to mild dementia, here the person affected show signs of needing help with some aspects of daily living. And perhaps will need supervision. Examples include not knowing which clothing to wear for the season, not remembering to eat or forgetting the stove on or placing items in strange places, not being able to retrieve words, etc. Orientation in time and space severely limited.
  • Stage six: This is moderately severe Alzheimer’s. The ability to converse is lost. Daily living tasks cannot be performed for self. Memory is lost and though they may seem to know someone and feel the person is familiar, they may not recognize them with a name and relationship.
  • Stage seven: Speech is severely limited. Walking, eating, sitting, etc. become difficult or are no longer possible. This stage has extreme losses within the brain cavity and it affects all aspects of the body’s ability to live.

  • Depending on the person the immune system becomes more severely challenged and persons with Alzheimer’s are therefore often vulnerable to diseases/infections they can no longer fight with normal body defenses.
    3What are the genetic risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s Disease?
    There are many genes connected to the “inheritance” of Alzheimer’s but the most common ones are the APOE4 gene on chromosome 19. This gene appears to be related to the development of late onset Alzheimer’s. Genes on chromosomes 1, 14 and 21 are seemingly associated with early onset Alzheimer’s. However, it is important to note that these markers have been found in persons who have never developed Alzheimer’s and that Alzheimer’s does develop in persons who have none of these genetic markers.

    It has been demonstrated by many doctors that even if you have two APOE4 genetic markers you can, by leading a very healthy lifestyle and optimizing your nutritional deficiencies, prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. Contact us at the Owl’s Nest Oasis to find out how.
    4How is Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosed?
    Alzheimer’s cannot be accurately diagnosed while a person is alive as an autopsy of the brain is needed. However, to diagnose Alzheimer’s in living persons takes some medical experience and special training. A doctor will first do tests to eliminate other medical conditions – most of which are treatable – before doing specific testing for Alzheimer’s. examples would be blood tests and brain scans to eliminate such common causes as untreated thyroid disease, brain tumors, a vitamin deficiency (B12 is a common one) each of which might cause the same symptoms as Alzheimer’s. then the doctor will perform some mental ability tests. Many such test are found on the internet – drawing a clock face is one such test.

    Once diagnosed one may be eligible for certain insurance support but the diagnosis does not lead to any specific treatment plan. Today one can find a functional medicine medical doctor who has training in preventing and reversing cognitive decline and such physicians can determine which supplements might be needed, what needs to change in the person’s environment, what special diet the person should consume and more. Among the factors which help remediate Alzheimer’s in its early to mid-stages is getting 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, of fasting for twelve to sixteen hours per day, and of getting a proper amount of exercise each day. Changes to habits one has formed making the new habits truly daily ones often over time turns the symptoms around and the person, while maintaining these new health habits, can return to completely normal living.

    For doctors in your area that have training to help reverse or prevent Alzheimer’s, see the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website. For a residential short term treatment solution to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s Contact us at the Owl’s Nest Oasis for more information.
    5What treatments are available for Alzheimer’s?
    In mainstream medicine, few doctors are yet aware of the successful treatments for Alzheimer’s. Nor are they aware that one can implement lifestyle changes that can prevent the onset of this dreaded brain thief. However, by visiting the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine to locate doctors with this knowledge or contacting us at the Owl’s Nest Oasis you can learn about the ways to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. You may also want to read Dr. Dale Bredesen’s 2017 book called The End of Alzheimer’s.
    6What are the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?
    Many health issues show similar symptoms to early Alzheimer’s disease so a doctor should be consulted to eliminate such reversible causes. One example is a B12 deficiency. Another would be untreated or inappropriately treated thyroid problems.

    The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are typically ones that indicate a gradual change in memory, thinking and reasoning. Often one will self-observe or a close other person will see some memory loss, some items being misplaced, forgetting names of places and objects, repetition of same facts or questions, being less flexible and hesitant to try new things, and some confusion and perhaps disorientation. Early symptoms are often covered up by compensating behaviors.

    There are self-administered tests freely available online if one suspects one might be exhibiting symptoms of early Alzheimer’s.
    7What are the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease?
    No one yet has been able to pinpoint a common cause. Even finding that one has the most common genetic markers does not mean you will certainly develop Alzheimer’s Disease. What many doctors have found is that one’s genetic predisposition combined with adverse environmental factors (molds, chemical exposures, etc.) and poor lifestyle choices are all influences in the development of this brain destroying disease. On the positive side, every one of these factors can be altered to prevent or reverse symptoms.

    Dr. Dale Bredesen describes Alzheimer’s as being a problem where one’s “roof” has many many leaking holes in it. So one begins to methodically patch well each hole and eventually the roof stops leaking and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s reverse as the body is once again able to keep its normal repair systems working to prevent any further leaks.
    8Is Alzheimer’s disease hereditary?
    Some forms of Alzheimer’s do appear to show up in family lineages so may be genetically influenced. There are several genetic markers that have been identified in early onset Alzheimer’s. Similarly, the APOE4 marker appears in many with late onset Alzheimer’s. Yet many persons develop Alzheimer’s and have none of these genetic markers. And others, with all the known genetic markers do not develop Alzheimer’s Disease. Currently it appears that lifestyle choices and environmental factors influence the development of Alzheimer’s. These are things you can change :) These are directed by personal life choices.
    9Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease?
    The straight up answer is No. That is, there are no known pharmaceuticals or surgeries or other standard medical interventions for “curing” this brain destroying disease. BUT, there are approaches/changes that when taken prevent or reverse the disease process allowing about 90%+ of those who adopt these healthy choices to return to living a healthy normal fully functioning life. A life where their memories are intact and they are able to function normally.

    So, is this not a “cure”? No, because Alzheimer’s is a process whereby the brain appears to become so compromised that it begins to be unable to do its own repairs. One does not catch Alzheimer’s as one might “catch” the flu. It appears to have a relationship to the accumulation of Tau and Amyloid plaques. But, we all make these tangles and plaques every day. When we live a healthy lifestyle and give the brain its essential opportunity DAILY to cleanse itself, these taus and plaques are removed. When we eat whole organic foods in appropriate quantities, we nourish our bodies and brains. When we maintain a healthy microbiome in our gut by the food and environmental choices we make then we have healthy support for our brains. And more. To find out how you can prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s find a functional medicine doctor in your area by searching on the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine or by contacting us at The Owl’s Nest Oasis.
    10Is there a way to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
    Yes! In the majority of cases, even for persons who carry two APOE4 genes, one can adopt consistently a lifestyle that promotes health. A lifestyle that encompasses all the aspects we outline on our website and in our articles . See our website or contact us for a free consultation.
    11Is it true that diseases like Alzheimer’s only affects older people?
    Speaking of only Alzheimer’s – not other diseases – Alzheimer’s seems, at first to be an affliction that occurs in elders with many more persons exhibiting this disease as they reach into their late sixties, seventies and eighties. Therefore, it seems that more persons developing Alzheimer’s as they grow older. However, more younger persons are developing the same Alzheimer’s symptoms and having their lives compromised by this disease. Now it is no longer unusual to find persons being diagnosed in their late thirties, and into their forties and fifties. Truly a devastating phenomenon.

    Like most chronic diseases, drastic changes to one’s lifestyle – adopting a truly healthy lifestyle – can often reverse the process even after it has begun.
    12Are there more women than men with Alzheimer’s?
    Yes. There is no currently known reason for this prevalence. Some propose that women live longer therefore have a higher chance of developing this disease. Some suggest that women have more stressful lives in general and therefore may neglect their own self-care making them more vulnerable. Other suggest women have often been underdiagnosed with various forms of heart disease and thus may have other health compromises allowing them to be more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s. There are no definitive answers at present. But this prevalence of there being more Alzheimer’s cases in the female population is being carefully researched.
    13What should I eat to keep my brain healthy?
    Wow. A huge question. First, you want to maintain a healthy microbiome. That means you need to nourish/feed the millions of microbes that live in your gut and are integral to maintaining your health. Second, you need to realize that every bite of food you put into your body should in some way contribute to its wellbeing. I recommend you refer to the articles on nutrition for brain health we have posted :)

    For those in early stages of Alzheimer’s, here at the Owl’s Nest Oasis, we maintain a totally clean keto diet for our guests. We serve only organic, non GMO foods in mostly their natural states. Our guests recover their abilities faster on this regime. We also have everyone fasting for twelve or more hours each day. This means they stop eating around eight p.m. and do not eat again until after 8 a.m. On a keto diet, new neurons grow faster and healthier; new synapses (connections) are established; fewer waste products are generated therefore these require less energy to be cleaned up; and more.
    14Should I keep my brain active or take up hobbies to lower my risk?
    Yes. Learning new things stimulates the brain! Ideally we should all keep our brains and bodies active. Think of the brain as a muscle that runs your body. Every muscle needs to be exercised or it atrophies. Read about some of the stimulating activities we use at the Owl’s Nest Oasis to learn more about keeping your brain healthy!
    15How many people are affected by Alzheimer’s Disease?
    In the USA currently only one in four persons who have Alzheimer’s has been diagnosed. And this one quarter of those with Alzheimer’s numbers 5.8 million. Worldwide the estimate is currently 44 million. The global cost in 2016 was estimated to be $605 billion (605,000,000, 000) annually.

    In USA currently one in 10 persons 65 or older has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is between 4 to 8 years.
    16Can Alzheimer’s develop suddenly?
    Dementia is not one disease but a collection of symptoms that show up due to brain damage. One common disease is Alzheimer’s. It would be unusual for Alzheimer’s to suddenly appear as it most often presents subtly by some memory loss, difficulty concentrating, getting confused over normal things, struggling to find the right word, and more. These mild symptoms gradually get worse and as a group one calls these symptoms Mild Cognitive Impairment. For such symptoms to suddenly appear it is unlikely that the process is the disease of Alzheimer’s. More likely, it is a form of dementia called Vascular dementia. Memory loss is usually not as apparent as it might be in Alzheimer’s but Vascular dementia can develop suddenly. These symptoms may appear as a stroke like set of symptoms – muscle weakness or some temporary paralysis, movement problems, thinking problems and mood changes which rather suddenly appear. Such sudden appearance of symptoms should be considered an emergency and medical attentions should be urgently sought.
    17Is Alzheimer’s Disease fatal?
    Alzheimer’s Disease is, unless there is a complete lifestyle change made, a progressive brain disorder that leads to the loss of memory and other intellectual activities. The brain basically shrinks and neurons die until there is seriously compromised ability of the neurons to connect with each other. Oxygen and other nutrients are not able to reach the cells of the brain. Gradually the brain dies. During this process it reaches a level where it cannot maintain its control over body parts, cannot maintain its immune system, and it slowly either cannot fight off a germ it is exposed to or it simply cannot provide the control over body parts. The person losses their ability to move, to control any body functions, to digest and more. Hence the body then dies. So in that respect Alzheimer’s is fatal. Yet a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s need no longer be a death sentence as you can make major lifestyle changes to reverse this disease. Today Alzheimer’s no longer needs to be a fatal disease as one now has the opportunity to make lifestyle changes and reverse this disease. Many doctors have had great success in helping their patients accomplish this type of reversal. And at the Owl’s Nest Oasis we help guests accomplish these steps while they live for a short while at our facility. Contact us now to find out if you qualify for our program.
    18Can music help Alzheimer’s patients?
    Music often triggers reactions in Alzheimer’s patients – reactions that somehow reach memory centers and good emotions. Musical aptitudes and music appreciation are among the last remaining abilities in patients with advanced Alzheimer’s. Music therapy is not a cure, but certainly it is comforting and definitely reaches brain areas that engage a patient. Some patients have been bedridden and uncommunicative for long periods but when music they knew is played for them, they respond with smiles, trying to sing along, and making some movements. So indeed using music is reaching the patients – so play the songs from their younger lives and see what response one gets.
    19Can Alzheimer’s be detected with an MRI?
    Various types of brain scans (fMRI, SPECT, PET, more) are now able to detect deposits of plaques and their precursors and can show where blood supplies to areas of the brain have been impaired. Such imaging is helpful in detecting the specific areas of the brain one can treat to restore the needed nutrients, blood flow, and more. This is an area where much study/research is being directed and hopefully this area will yield some results to help build the brain tissue back to its optimal state. For now, doctors such as those in the Daniel Amen clinics, are using their scan results to improve the overall health of the brains in their clients. Various training processes and nutrient support form a core portion of their work in these areas. Brain scans can show what volume of the brain has already been destroyed and can help the doctors determine a course of action appropriate for each patient.
    20What is the life expectancy of a person with Alzheimer’s disease?
    Post diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the current life expectancy, if there are no healing interventions taken. is between four and eight years.
    21Is there a test to diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease?
    Since there is no identifiable single cause of Alzheimer’s disease, there is no specific diagnostic tool available. One records the changes, the loss of abilities, and eliminates other possible dementias and causes of dementia type symptoms. Then by the detailed history and various intellectual tests as well as blood testing and genetic testing, the diagnosis can be made.
    22If there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, why is early diagnosis a good idea?
    Like any disease process the earlier one knows what one is dealing with the easier it is to implement helpful changes. In Alzheimer’s lifestyle plays a critical role so making changes early on results in stopping and reversing the disease process that having been implemented at an early stage are more likely to be able to completely reverse the symptoms.
    23Dementia is described as an umbrella term. What does that mean and what falls under the umbrella?
    Dementia describes a group of diseases of the brain where damage has occurred and due to that damage one shows symptoms of various sorts. The types of dementia are many – Alzheimer’s is the most often seen brain disease followed closely by vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s dementia, and up to one hundred more types. Playing football often results in dementia from the traumas to the brain (even though helmets may have been worn). Vascular dementia is often the result of mini strokes or to high blood pressure.

    The dementia called Alzheimer’s is now known to have several different types. Each of these can be reversed but each patient’s path to this reversal is individualized by their specially trained physician. Each patient requires a special personalized program to achieve the reversal of the Alzheimer’s symptoms.
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