Someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds. There were an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia in 2015 and this number is believed to be close to 50 million people in 2017. This number will almost double every 20 years, reaching 75 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050. Much of the increase will be in developing countries. Already 58% of people with dementia live in low and middle income countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 68%. The fastest growth in the elderly population is taking place in China, India, and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbours. (alz.co.uk Dementia Statistics)

Given the growing statistics, it is likely that a rapidly increasing number of us will develop dementia. Increasingly, the age at which we develop it is getting younger. To detach from the matter as though it is ‘not our problem’ or as something that does not effects all of us, is short sighted and reckless.

This is a global health crisis!

Who will care for our loved ones or sons and daughters if they develop this world shattering disease? Who will then care for you if your children need caring for? Who will care for their children as the problem becomes earlier onset? Who will pay for the cost of a health services providing crisis care to millions? Who will pay for the long term complex support that is required? Dementia can be a long term condition and people can live with it for many years, even decades. Where are the available people coming from to care for the millions of people that need years of intervention and support? The matter is not just simply statistics, it is Multi faceted. We often tend to think this is the government problem, or we need to invest more in research, the healthcare system, pharmaceuticals etc.

This is assuming that unlimited resources are at the center of the problem and therefore more money is the solution. This is very far from the reality. Money will not help if we do not have people to support each other. This crisis requires us to pan out and take a look at the causes of the problem and start there to prevent it form happening and at the same time stop waiting for a magic pill to fix the problem at the point we are at now. The Pharamaceutical companies have already started to pull out of the quest to find a cure! We need to catch up!!

“Globally, the numbers of people living with dementia will increase from 50m in 2018 to 152m in 2050, a 204% increase.”

Source: Prince, M et al (2015). World Alzheimer’s Report 2015, The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. Alzheimer’s Disease International

We have a growing problem on our hands that requires us all to wake up to and start taking notice.

This is not a new problem that has just arrived and surprised us, this upward trend in statistics has been has been glaringly obvious for decades.

It is not ok to look away and say, Dementia is a terrible thing, but it does not effect me. It effects all of us one way or another! Even if we are lucky enough to go through life never having anyone close to us experiencing the sometimes devastating effects of dementia (which is unlikely) we are very much part of a global family, that is increasingly suffering effects of the problem. We are all needed in the exploration of a solution to it.

Our individual engagement in this issue is for all of us, our loved ones, our community, our country and the world. This is a global emergency! The first step is to recognise and acknowledge it and then be open to explore all avenues. The very least we can do individually is accept that the lifestyle decisions we make day to day has a positive or detrimental effect on our brains and body and general wellness.

We are not not victims without control. We are responsible for our own health and that of our families. So if you did not think that all of those statistics and facts were bad enough, they are just the statistics on Dementia.

There are further reasons to be alarmed with other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, ME and so on. These are just a few examples of known conditions that affect the brain, and may fall into the conversation we are having here. There is an ever-increasing amount of research that is confirming that many neurological disorders may either be linked, co-existing and or part of the same problem. It is also known that missdiagnosis if not rare and what is a diagnosis of dementia, maybe something completely different and entirely curable. As we can only make a diagnosis of exclusion when diagnosing dementia, accuracy can be difficult. Lyme Disease or a Parasitic Infection, hormonal Dysfunction, Toxicity and nutritional deficiency are all some of the factors we should be looking at when we diagnose Dementia. More often than not (if we are lucky enough to receive a timely diagnosis at the early enough stages to get real evidence) we are presented with a brief medical history questionnaire, a few questions to test cognition and a clock to draw.

Unless we know the range of multiple factors we are dealing with and devise effective solutions for preventing, managing and reversing them, how are we to address them?

“72% of people living with dementia also have another medical condition or disability.”

Source: Dowrick, A. Southern, A (2014) Dementia 2014: Opportunity for change by the Alzheimer’s Society

We have to fully accept the multi factorial and complex nature of the problem and look at multi factorial solutions to match. There will be no magic pill to solve this problem! If you think money alone will solve the problem, think again!

OK, Is there any good news? Yes there is. There is lots of good news and it is backed by research, peer reviewed papers and Independent literature written by Leading Doctors and Professors in the field of Neurological Disorders, Neurodegenerative Disease and Ageing.

There is a global consensus that our lifestyle choices are determining factors in all degenerative disease. What we eat, drink, engage in physically and think can determine our health outcomes. Genetic factors do not necessarily need to be triggered. It seems glaringly obvious that the food we eat, the thought we think, the air we breath, the company we keep and our activity levels should be the very first issues to examine as a matter of prevention, to have any hope of slowing down or even reversing any degenerative neurological disease such as dementia. There are many studies that clearly show populations of people experiencing an increase of all kinds disease based on food consumption, enviromental polutnts, sedentry lifestyle and isolation. Health trends based on environmental factors, and mortality rates based on lifestyle are becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore. Why are we ignoring the obvious??

The general consensus of people I meet on a daily basis in the area of dementia seem to be they have given up on any hope that things will ever get better. The mentality that there is nothing that each individual can do to help prevent, reverse or cure their condition withoit the ‘Magic Pill’ We are told that there is no known cure for dementia and it is becoming more obvious that the only cure is prevention.

This is the statement that is made on alz.co.uk Alzheimers Disease International on their Frequently Asked Question Page.

Question. Is there a cure?

“There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or for most other causes of dementia. Nor can a cure be expected in the near future. Researchers are still at the early stage of developing drugs that they hope will slow down the progression of the disease, at least in some cases. They still do not know how to prevent the disease from occurring, how to stop its progression, or how to reverse its effects. It is hoped that more research into the causes of dementia will make effective treatment possible.”

Another Frequently Asked Question. Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented?

Not enough is known about the causes of Alzheimer’s disease for any specific preventative measures to be recommended.

Although Alzheimer’s disease is more common with increasing age, the trigger for the characteristic changes that occur in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease is not known. Genes are thought to play a part in the development of most cases of Alzheimer’s disease. In rare cases, abnormal genes actually cause the disease. Much more commonly, genes are believed only to contribute to a person’s susceptibility to the disease. It seems that, at least in some cases, factors in the environment may be necessary to trigger the illness.

Although there are no specific preventative measures to recommend, what can be recommended is a healthy lifestyle – eating a healthy diet and staying physically, mentally and socially active. There is increasing research evidence to suggest that having a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce an individual’s risk.

OK, did anyone get any clarity on this question at all with the answer from alz.co.uk?

If we did not know better we would be forced to look at the glaringly obvious facts that even the leading global authority on the matter can only be certain about one thing and that is……….

The food we eat, the lifestyles we chose and activities we engage in CAN prevent dementia.

Is this where all of the Billions of hard earned and raised money goes? No wonder we have all given up!

14c

Now, referring back to the FAQ, Can Alzheimers be prevented? I think we have established without doubt a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce an individuals risk of developing dementia. So I purchased the Alzheimers Society Book. Guide to Catering for people with Dementia. In this book it recommends High fat foods such as butter and cream to aid weight gain for people with dementia.

We know what is Good for the Heart is good for the Brain. Heart Health = Brain Health Did high fat dairy products suddenly become health foods or do we give up on people in later stages of dementia?

Cashew nuts and avocados are also high fat and colourific! I think my point is clear here!

Let’s now assume we all agree that what we put into, on and around our body can have a positive or negative effect on our body and brain, as well as how much we move, relax and socialise. There is lots of evidence that a range of effective approaches to Preventing, Managing and Reversing some types of dementia and Neurodegenerative Disease with food and lifestyle choices is and should be the default in all cases where possible. So why are we not making it clearer that this is the very first and most vital information we should be getting given to us as every medical interaction and conversations we have?

We often lose the vital points as we are within too big and fracured a picture. We can’t see the wood for the trees so to speak. For example, Dementia is not curable, so we just need to work hard on finding a magic pill. In that determination we have somehow lost the vital details and most important question to anyone experiencing dementia. This is what do we do in the meantime? How do we actively manage a condition we are all waiting for a cure for with no real hope of that happpening any time soon if ever? People are having their lives torn apart in the most traumatic way and we are not seeing and automating the only one thing we know can help which are wholistic approaches.

There are hundreds of factsheets to offer us helpful tips and tricks, but when it comes down to the problems its almost like ther is a global agreement to brace ourselves and hope for the best. So when it comes to recommending food that we know beyond a doubt is damaging to our health and even maybe the cause, to people with more advanced dementia in an effort to help them gain weight, I feel we have lost our way.

“It is time to look at the cause and not the cure, as the cure will be found in the cause”

I am not refuting the importance of the continuation of medical research into causes and cure. I sincerely hope that there is a breakthrough to help to cure the people I love who are cursed with this terrible disease. I am saying, the years we have spend developing drugs which are for example, breaking Plaques in the brain, when we now understand plaques to be a protective response (as suggested by Dale Bredesen M.D. in his book The end of Alzheimers) seems to be like continuing to look for something after you have found it!

The information we have available to us is conflicting and confusing. On one hand the leading voice on the matter says there is no cure and they have no idea what causes it and on the other says research shows it is influenced by lifestyle factors. It would be helpful if we took a fresh look at the problem and explore all possible avenues from an objective point of view. We no longer have the time to wait for the magic pill (which looks like not being with us any time soon) We no longer have time for the doctor to be able to give the life changing advice we need. I fully respect everything that has been done to this point and everything the world is continuing to do in the quest to find a cure for Dementia, but I feel it is time we take some responsibility for our own health, life and future.

It is generally agreed that Dementia can be developing in the brain twenty years or so before anything is suspected. This is why more efforts need to be made on educating people about prevention, as early as school children. There is a huge body of evidence supported by the leading advisory organisations such as The Alzheimers Society, that Exercise, Mindfulness, Breathing techniques, Meditation, Light Therapy, Nutrition, Nature, and essential oils are equally effective for the management of the symptoms of dementia and yet these are not very well known. Why? We need to share this information to everyone!

The information is all there for us to explore. If we approach it with an open mind, we can be the irrefutable evidence required to challenge the melancholy and obstructive medical/pharmaceutical snobbery that surrounds such a complex problem. There is no reason why all possible solutions can not work hand in hand!

After all, are we not all together and wanting to solve the problem???

This is only the beginning of what I feel there is to say. I hope it has given an insight as to the aim of DemPro as an organisation and a sense of who I am in the mix. I will continue to write, review, explore. I am in service to my local community as well as hoping to reach people around the world. I am happy to connect and collaborate with anyone who is looking to highlight possible non pharmaceutical solutions, interventions, or shed some light on any new area of discovery relevant to our mission.

In order to financially support DemPro and its Mission, I as a fully qualified trainer will be delivering a range of in house trining to local organisations such as nursing homes, community organisations and one to one. Please see the training page on the web site for more details.

I have also offer Cognitive Stimulation Therapy in groups or one to one. This can be entirely adapted to the needs of the client and can include therapy for people in later stages of dementia. More information on this type of therapy can be found http://www.cstdementia.com I have adapted this programme to meet their individual needs.

Also, Be sure to check out The exciting future plans for DemPro C.I.C

Thank You for the time you have taken to read this. If you have any queries or questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Gill Irvine