By Regenera Medical founder & functional medicine pioneer, Elroy Vojdani MD, IFMCP
After graduating from USC medical school and then completing my residency at Keck School of Medicine, I began my medical career as an interventional radiologist – which uses imaging technology to treat with medical conditions with minimally invasive surgery guided by imaging technology such as fluoroscopy (real time X-ray), CT, or Ultrasound.
I am often asked why I changed the focus of my medical practice from interventional radiology to functional medicine. The reason was based on a number of experiences I had in various Los Angeles area hospitals, where I was performing cutting-edge, lifesaving surgery on patients suffering from late stage dementia – who were literally just minutes away from dying – only to later find myself asking, saved to what end?
The sad truth was that even though I saved these patients lives, their dementia was unaffected – and so was their life. I then came to the conclusion that if I shifted my medical practice to functional medicine, where the focus is on healing the illness rather than masking the symptoms, I could help prevent (or at least slow/lessen) the onset and advancement of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory challenges, as well as difficulty learning new things, trouble concentrating, or struggling with making decisions are collectively termed Cognitive Impairment (CI). According to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cognitive impairment now affects 16 million Americans. Approximately 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 65 are currently diagnosed with CI. Shockingly, data projections show that this number will double in the next 20 years. The numbers are staggering and even more perplexing is the fact that if CI was the only medical condition that Medicare was responsible for, the number of patients in need of care in the next two decades will bankrupt the system. CI is an exploding epidemic that is on track to devastate millions of people’s lives (including their families) in the coming years. This is the reason why I, along with other likeminded physicians, are focusing efforts on discovering and employing preventative measures that will slow or even stop this epidemic.
While there are many causes of CI, they break down into two large categories – vascular versus degenerative. Vascular causes are a result of blood supply loss to brain cells which results in a starvation of oxygen to a part of your brain causing the cells to die. Degenerative causes are linked to inflammation in the brain, which destroys brain cells when it occurs over stretches of time. Sometimes CI is a result of both vascular and degenerative causes.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in treating CI came from MPI Cognition founder, Dale Bredesen MD. After years of researching pharmaceutical drugs, in hopes they would be successful in the treatment of CI, he shifted his research focus to exploring what factors contribute to brain health and what harmful elements can lead to CI. Through this research he created an effective treatment plan that is based on a combination of lifestyle and dietary modification, as well as the inclusion of highly selected supplements. Through this treatment plan, known as the Bredesen Protocol, he was successful in stabilizing (or even reversing) CI in many patients. This led him to train other physicians, like me, in order to offer CI patients with a larger network of practitioners who could treat them with this proven protocol. The results achieved through certified Bredesen Protocol practitioners mirrored what Dr. Bredesen had documented with his own patients– and the positive results continue!
In 2017, after seeing Dr. Bredesen, Dr. Tanzi, and Dr. Perlmutter speak about recent breakthroughs in the treatment of CI, my father, Dr. Aristo Vojdani (known as “the Father of Functional Immunology) discussed how we could significantly contribute to the new understanding of this disease process. From those discussions, we began intensely studying what specific factors in an individual’s environment might contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This research lead to groundbreaking discoveries, including the confirmation (from a theoretical standpoint) that factors in the environment can cause the accumulation of Beta-Amyloid plaque – the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. While the effects of these environmental factors are individualized, they include foods, infections, toxins, lack of exercise and stress. We then set out to create a simple blood test that could effectively identify exactly what specific factors are contributing to the build up of Beta-Amyloid plaque in a specific person’s brain.
Our hope in uncovering this information, which has now been published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, is to empower the movement of preventing Alzheimer’s and other forms of CI. The result of these efforts now means that 20 – 30 years before someone experiences any clinical signs of CI, such as notable memory loss, we can identify what factors are brewing within the body that we know lead to CI. From there we can create a customized treatment plan that can help the patient slow, or entirely avoid CI. If you are in your 40s, or older, now is the time to get screened for this disease and for any potential processes in your body that may cause it in the future.
The following are things you can do to combat memory loss:
• Eat healthy plant based fats! Your brain is 60 percent fat, so you need to eat healthy fat to maximize its function. We recommend avocados, olive oil, nuts.
• Minimize or eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet. Our research revealed that these two foods can be significant contributors to CI.
• Exercise – walking 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
• Play brain games. Train your mind as you would a muscle. I recommend crossword puzzles like Sudoku, or apps like Elevate, Lumosity, or Peak.
• Minimize your intake of sugar and simple carbs. Even mild pre-diabetes can affect the health of your brain long-term.
• Don’t eat anything stored or cooked in aluminum
• Take fish oil, Vitamin D, curcumin, green tea extract, Bacopa, CoQ10, and probiotics to support a healthy body and brain
Your brain is without a doubt the most vital organ in your body. All of us have witnessed either a loved one, family member, or friend suffer from the debilitating effects of living without a properly functioning brain. Armed with new research and a simple blood test, you and your loved ones can avoid, or certainly slow, the onset of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Even those currently diagnosed with these illnesses can be significantly helped with a customized treatment plan.
~Elroy Vojdani MD, IFMCP
If you would like to avoid CI, or improve your current cognitive function, please contact Regenera Medical to set up a consultation at 424 256 0272 or email us at mailto:Info@RegeneraMedical.com