It seems like everywhere we go, people are literally losing their minds! I’m not talking about just losing your temper. I’m talking about Dementia, a disease that costs the United States $157 Billion to $215 Billion annually surpassing both heart disease and cancer. Dementia is commonly defined as a broad category of brain disease causing long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember significantly enough to affect a person’s daily function. Common symptoms associated with Dementia include emotional problems, problems with language, and a decrease in motivation.
Alzheimer’s disease, which encompasses 50-70% of dementia cases, is one of the fastest growing chronic inflammatory diseases today. This is of huge concern and isn’t being addressed with enough urgency. Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementia are a fast growing concern for the elderly, but you will later on see that it is actually a huge concern for people of all ages. We used to think that Dementia was mainly a result of an aging brain. We used to think that the brain only has a finite amount of neurons and that as we age these neurons age, lose function, and die irreversibly. Science has now proved that this is false and that the brain is constantly growing and developing new neurons through a process called Neurogenesis. We also now know that the major stress on the brain causing symptoms of Dementia is not aging but inflammation. As previously stated, Alzheimer’s is one of the fastest growing chronic inflammatory diseases. In order to prevent as well as help these conditions we need to address the cause of brain inflammation and how to best decrease the inflammatory stressors.
An inflamed brain is a stressed brain which causes a lot of symptoms of decreased health. Inflammation in and around the brain may cause brain fog, attention deficit disorders, neurological disorders, headaches and migraines, anxiety, depression, and other Dementia related conditions. What are the possible causes of inflammation in the brain? Nutritional stress is a major culprit. Remember the saying, junk in equals junk out? Fast food, sodas, candy and other highly processed sugary “foods” don’t just make us overweight. They cause inflammation in our body and brain. Inflammation causes damage to and can even kill brain cells. Traumas cause a big portion of Dementia symptoms as well. We usually think of concussions or other traumatic brain injuries but science is showing us that this is only one aspect of brain injuries that cause inflammation. Research is acknowledging that “less” traumatic/impacting brain injuries like minor motor vehicle accidents, whiplash movements, playing sports that involve head contact such as football and soccer all significantly increase the amount of inflammation in and around the brain. The combination of these stressors and others result in loss of proper function in the brain.
The brain foundationally is electric. It communicates with the body and the environment via electrical brainwaves. When the brain isn’t functioning properly these brainwaves become imbalanced and cause a plethora of symptoms ranging from depression to Dementia. To fully heal the brain we need two things to happen. Decrease the inflammatory stress on the brain and help it to function efficiently and properly again. We support this recovery in multiple ways at our office but here are a few common practices. Detox! Just as a lot of people do a cleanse to help decrease weight which is usually just inflammation in the body, they also need to detox the inflammation surrounding their brain. A big part of detox is supporting the lymphatic system. The brain has its own lymphatic system called the glymphatic system and the most important thing you can do on your own to support this system is to get quality sleep. As you sleep these vessels dilate and improve the removal of toxins and inflammation from the brain. Craniosacral technique, infrared saunas, vibration plate therapy, cupping, and specific herbs and supplements are other great services to support your glymphatic health.
After removing the stressful inflammation, the brain’s electrical pathways might need some recalibration. If the stress on the brain is long enough or severe enough, it actually changes the electric signaling or brainwaves. To determine the specific changes and severity of stress on different areas of the brain, a mapping of the brainwaves is necessary and can be done with a technology called qEEG. Quantitative Electroencephalography, or qEEG for short, tells us if the electrical activity of the brain is balanced or not, which areas are imbalanced, as well as the specific brainwaves that are imbalanced. When we have this specific information, we can train the brainwaves back into balance through positive reinforcement called neurofeedback training. Neurofeedback training works on the foundation of neuroplasticity. The brain is always reorganizing itself to form new connections throughout life based on the stress put on it. In this case, neurofeedback is a healthy stress that helps re-organize nerve cells in the brain back to a healthy state that has compensated for injury, disease, and inflammation. By bringing the brain back into balance it can communicate properly with the body and function more optimally allowing for less symptoms and a better quality of life.