YES, THE BRAIN CAN REPAIR ITSELF! It was once thought that our brains were “fixed” and incapable of repairing themselves. We now know that is not true. Our brains have the ability to change themselves, their structures, and their neuropathways. They can even grow entire new cells by a process called neurogenesis. The term neuroplasticity is used to show that the brain is pliable and able to change.
Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons (nerve cells) are generated. One area in the brain where neurogenesis takes place is the hippocampus that has to do with memory and navigation. One sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s is shrinkage of the hippocampus. Increasing neuron production can be done by implementing diet and lifestyle strategies that affect brain health. Exercise is a great way to stimulate the neurogenesis process which will preserve and enhance brain function.
Neuroplasticity is the change in neural pathways and synapses that occurs due to certain factors like behavior, environment, or neural processes. During such changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, deleting the neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthening the necessary ones. Neurons are part of a vast network that can grow new connections and “re-wire” our brains.
Just as the body has a lymphatic system, the brain has a glymphatic system. The glymphatic system is a waste clearance pathway in the brain, used to drain away soluble waste proteins and metabolic products. This happens at night when we are asleep. This is why quality sleep is so important for brain health.
As Dr. Bredesen writes in his book, “The End of Alzheimer’s – The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,” Alzheimer’s has 36 or more causes. The best chance of halting and reversing cognitive decline is with addressing as many of these causes as possible. These can be grouped in 3 main areas or subtypes:
– Inflammation (from infection, diet or other causes)
– Decline and shortage of supportive nutrients, hormones and other brain-supporting molecules
– Toxic substances such as metals or biotoxins (poisons produced by microbes such as molds)
The Bredesen Protocol starts with the proper evaluation and testing. A Bredesen certified health care practitioner will help identify what has caused the patient’s Alzheimer’s and its subtype. From the test results, a customized program will be developed for the patient. This individualized program will address the discovered causes from the 3 main areas above.
The Protocol (program) also focuses largely on diet, fasting, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, and other lifestyle factors. This part of the program will have a greater impact than you might imagine. In fact, some people have halted and begun to reverse their cognitive decline just by changing and optimizing diet and lifestyle factors (without the proper testing through a Bredesen certified doctor).
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