Causes of Cognitive Decline

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We discuss the recent advances by Dr. Kenneth Janson regarding senility, how to prevent Alzheimer’s and causes of cognitive decline

Is Becoming Addled Inevitable?

Cognitive Decline (inability to think) is something that all of us fear and most of us expect to suffer from if we live long enough. For years, doctors have told us that senility is a disease of aging, and that most of us will become addled if we live long enough. In other words, there is no preventive treatment or medication that can allow us to keep our wits about us into our 90s. These same doctors predict that in the next two decades the number of people with Alzheimers will more than double.

This podcast will review some of the information my staff and I learned when we attended the American Age Management Medical Group’s national conference last month. We listened to a presentation by Dr. Kenneth Janson, of Boca Raton, Florida, who is a preventive medicine doctor. One of the most important points he made was that as we age beyond fifty, part of our brain (specifically our hippocampus,) begins to shrink by .5% a year unless we take action to prevent this deterioration. This is one of the causes of the loss of short-term recall and other memory issues that we have accepted as normal aging. Dr. Janson, however, does not accept that prediction.

It was interesting to me that the post-fifty time frame parallels when men begin to lose their testosterone, and when women generally go through menopause and lose both estradiol and testosterone. Dr. Janson makes the correlation between brain shrinkage and hormone loss, suggesting that we replace hormones that decline with age to prevent this outcome. This addresses my own pet peeve about modern medicine. I think it is so important to take a preventative approach to the illnesses of aging. Modern medicine is at its best when we are able to engage in preventing the deterioration of the body rather than when we are trying to identify and treat disease after the fact. I do not practice treatment of disease, now I prevent it. Dr. Jansen believes that exercise and nutrition are indispensable, and are key to aging without disease.

The message was loud and clear: just replacing hormones that are lost is not enough! We also must work with our patients to build a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits that support nutrition, exercise, and making good lifestyle choices. I can work with you as your doctor, but we must work together as a team. You have to bring your own resources of commitment and intentionality to improve your manner of living and I will guide and inform you as well as replace the necessary hormones and supplements. Hopefully this podcast will motivate you to engage in that process with me.

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