With some 200,000 people a year in the UK developing dementia, Alzheimer's disease (the most common form of dementia) is rapidly becoming one of the country's number one causes of death. Read on to find out about our new Brain Check Ultra panel and how it may help you and your clinic...
All about Alzheimer's disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are almost a million people with dementia in the UK with projected figures estimating the total will rise to 1.6 million by 2040 (1). Some 209,000 people a year develop the disease – that’s one every three minutes, with dementia and Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) now considered the UK’s number one cause of death. What’s more, while many think of dementia as being an older person’s condition, there are more than 40,000 people under 65 with the disease.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia, and dementia research is chronically underfunded: According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are four cancer researchers in Britain for every dementia researcher (1). One area that is gaining traction and showing signs of mediating symptoms and slowing cognitive decline in those with Alzheimer’s is The Bredesen Protocol, a nutrition and lifestyle programme based on the works of Professor Dale Bredesen, an expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases.
While Alzheimer’s disease is incompletely defined, studies have implicated metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, hormonal deficiencies, and hyper-homocysteinemia as potential contributing factors (2), and Bredesen’s work argues that optimising metabolic parameters has yielded cognitive improvement in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals (3).
Bredesen’s research claims that Alzheimer’s disease results from an imbalance in the brain’s neuroplasticity signalling thanks to a series of negative assaults on the body that lead to a downsizing of the brain’s ability and a subsequent cognitive decline.
Bredesen has identified 36 factors including metabolic derangement, poor nutrient status, and exposure to viruses that can trigger “downsizing” in the brain and the protocol employs a number of techniques to address those factors including a ketogenic-style Mediterranean diet, brain training, blood tests and a personalised supplementation regime (4).
A recent study where Bredesen was a co-author alongside functional medicine doctors including Kat Toups, Ann Hathaway and Deborah Gordon, was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease earlier this summer. It describes a proof-of-concept trial ahead of a larger randomised controlled clinical trial (5) and assesses the effect of a multi-faceted nutrition and lifestyle approach on 25 patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment. The authors concluded that all saw improvement at the end of the trial.
To assist Bredesen Protocol practitioners in the UK with their assessment of their clients who cannot use Bredesen testing, which is based in the USA, FDX has launched a new Brain Check Ultra panel that assesses biomarkers in-line with the protocol.
Introducing Brain Check Ultra
Includes biomarkers designed to test in five categories
suggested by Professor Dale Bredesen for use with his protocol:
Insulin resistance * Inflammation and infections * Hormone, nutrient, and trophic factor optimisation * Toxins: chemical, biological, and physical * Restoration and protection of lost synapses
Some of the areas, the new Brain Check Ultra panel looks at include:
Homocysteine levels and inflammatory markers
These included CRP, homocysteine, HsCRP and interleukin 6. Blood plasma levels have been identified as a risk factor for and a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease (6). Inflammation worsens depression and affects cognitive functions (7).
Hormone and sex hormones
Research suggests that changes in oestrogen and oestradiol levels can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s (8)
Minerals, vitamins and electrolytes
Imbalances including B12 (9), zinc (10), folic acid (11), iron (12) and magnesium (13) have been shown to cause cognitive and mental decline
Thyroid (14) and sugar balance (15)
These could be underlying factors to a decline in cognitive health causing oxidative stress
Heavy metal toxins
Arsenic, mercury and lead have been shown to negatively impact cognitive functions (16)
Poor detoxification can be an underlying cause for the onset of degenerative cognitive functions (17)
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1. Alzhemier’s Society. Facts for the media | Alzheimer’s Society [Internet]. Key facts and statistics on dementia. 2020 [cited 2022 Jul 11]. Available from: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/news-and-media/facts-media
2. Chakrabarti S, Khemka VK, Banerjee A, Chatterjee G, Ganguly A, Biswas A. Metabolic Risk Factors of Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease: Implications in the Pathology, Pathogenesis and Treatment. Aging Dis [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2022 Jul 11];6(4):282. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26236550/
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4. Apollo Health. The Science Alzheimer’s Prevention – Apollo Health [Internet]. https://www.apollohealthco.com/. [cited 2022 Jul 11]. Available from: https://www.apollohealthco.com/bredesen-protocol/
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7. Beurel E, Toups M, Nemeroff CB. The Bidirectional Relationship of Depression and Inflammation: Double Trouble [Internet]. Vol. 107, Neuron. Neuron; 2020 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. p. 234–56. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32553197/
8. Vegeto E, Villa A, Della Torre S, et al. The role of sex and sex hormones in neurodegenerative diseases [Internet]. Vol. 41, Endocrine Reviews. Rev; 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31544208/
9. Moore E, Mander A, Ames D, Carne R, Sanders K, Watters D. Cognitive impairment and vitamin B12: A review [Internet]. Vol. 24, International Psychogeriatrics. Int ; 2012 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. p. 541–56. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22221769/
10. Skalny A V., Aschner M, AA. Zinc. In: Advances in Food and Nutrition Research [Internet]. Adv Food Res; 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. p. 251–310. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34112355/
11. Chen H, Liu S, Ji L, et al. Folic Acid Supplementation Mitigates Alzheimer’s Disease by Reducing Inflammation: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Mediators [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2022 Aug 8];2016. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27340344/
12. Lane DJR, Ayton S, Bush AI. Iron and Alzheimer’s Disease: An Update on Emerging Mechanisms [Internet]. Vol. 64, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. J Dis; 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. p. S379–95. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29865061/
13. Gröber U, Schmidt J, K. Magnesium in prevention and therapy [Internet]. Vol. 7, Nutrients. MDPI AG; 2015 [cited 2020 Dec 31]. p. 8199–226. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26404370/
14. Figueroa PBS, Ferreira AFF, Britto LR, AP, A da S. Association between thyroid function and Alzheimer’s disease: A systematic review [Internet]. Vol. 36, Metabolic Brain Disease. Brain Dis; 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. p. 1523–43. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34146214/
15. Moreira PI. High-sugar diets, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Clin Care [Internet]. 2013 Jul [cited 2022 Aug 8];16(4):440–5. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23657152/
16. Bakulski KM, Seo YA, Hickman RC, et al. Heavy Metals Exposure and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias [Internet]. Vol. 76, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. J Dis; 2020 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. p. 1215–42. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32651318/
17. Williams AC, Steventon GB, Sturman S, Waring RH. Hereditary variation of liver enzymes involved with detoxification and neurodegenerative disease. J Inherit Dis [Internet]. 1991 Jul [cited 2022 Aug 8];14(4):431–5. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1749211/