Dr. Will Mitchell, DOM, MS Nutrition of Primal Health L.P. wrote the book, The Unbreakable Brain published in 2016. His book makes the case that brain health is achievable and necessary. Citing numerous sources, Mitchell explains the current understanding of how the brain works and what we can do to prevent cognitive decline as defined by dementia and Alzheimer’s.
To clarify, dementia is the general term which includes Alzheimer’s and various other diseases related to mental decline. Dr. Mitchell’s plan outlines actions that prevent these difficulties – beginning early in life. Therefore, consider this information applicable to all ages.
In chapter two Mitchell discusses the risk factors related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Statistically we see more women than men afflicted, but it appears age related. (p. 15)
Before addressing the medical risk factors, he took time to distinguish “preventative” and “catching early enough to treat.” “True prevention requires making lifestyle changes that keep those diseases from showing up in the first place.” (p. 16)
Medical risk factors include heart disease, diabetes, depression pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. All of the elements of heart disease damage blood vessels and lead to less-than-optimal brain function. (p. 17) Further, Alzheimer’s has been called Type 3 Diabetes – having diabetes doubles the risk for Alzheimer’s. Sad to say, many diabetics have heart related issues. Execute function issues (related to issues of Alzheimer’s) include working memory, flexibility, reasoning, planning, problem solving and execution. (p. 18)
In relation to depression and Alzheimer’s, some wonder which is the cause, and which is the effect. Typical symptoms include confusion, slowness, irritability, apathy, loss of balance, numbness, and tingling. (p. 18)
Lifestyle and environmental factors include diet, stress, smoking, lack of exercise, toxins and genetics. Medical risk factors “are a result of a long series of lifestyle choices that were going on for decades before any symptoms begin. (p. 19)
Inflammation causes most of modern disease. Key dietary factors leading to disease: poor blood sugar, fake food, antibiotics (directly or through food) and toxins. Risk increases significantly if a person eats processed foods, conventionally grown red meat and veggies, lots of sugar, grains, and other high glycemic foods. (p. 20)
In studies of PTSD adults and abused children, they had a high level of cortisol. Sleep restores brain function, consolidation, and eliminates metabolic waste. Sleep deprivation diminishing optimal function, causes fatigue and makes concentrating difficult. In addition, it diminishes cognitive function and overall health. (p.20)
Mitchell finishing this chapter with other lifestyle factors – lack of exercise, smoking, toxins and genetics. (p. 21-23)
In the next chapter, Dr. Mitchell covers Your Brain on Drugs.
*Reader alert, Dr. Mitchell subscribes to the evolutionary theory, and you will see it in his book. Evolutionary and creation scientists can make great observations and come to different conclusions, some of which are erroneous and some accurate.