According to the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study, the prevalence of dementia among individuals aged 71 and older was 13.9 percent, comprising about 3.4 million individuals in the USA in 2002. Dementia prevalence increased with age, from 5.0 percent of those aged 71 - 79 years to 37.4 percent of those aged 90 and older.
Concerning dementia, the form disconcerting for most is related to progressive degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Alzheimer’s disease affects almost 10 percent of people over 70 years old, or around 2.4 million individuals. Parkinson's disease affects about 1 million people in the United States. Although the cause of these two diseases is unknown, it is undoubtedly multi-factorial and the result of many health-degrading influences, as discussed throughout Hope for Health.
For example, as mentioned in the chapter Migraines, Metals or Minerals, The brains of Alzheimer’s patients often contain a jumbled mass of nerve fibers called a neurofibrillary tangle (NFT). These areas contain high levels of trapped aluminum. Parkinson’s also has a strong association with the presence of mercury and lead. Another strong connection is poor glucose utilization by the brains of dementia patients.
Making matters even more interesting, science has yet to determine exactly which lobes of the brain store memories or whether they store memories at all. The idea that memory is transpersonal (outside the brain) and part of a morphogenetic field, a term that means, “giving birth to form,” is an idea that has been around since the 1920s. It is gaining greater traction today. These theories, beyond the scope of Hope for Health, are tied to the strange world of quantum mechanics. In the years to come, they may garner further consideration.
Making Memories To make a lasting memory, an event needs one or all of three ingredients: intensity, duration, and repetition. The roots of neurons, called dendrites, make their connections under the modulating influence of dopamine. Acetylcholine, another important neurotransmitter, is important for memory recall.
In order to produce adequate levels of acetylcholine, vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is required. This vitamin helps choline bind with the important molecule acetyl CoA. Choline can be ingested through food or made by the good bacteria in the gut. Manganese is a trace mineral that can help make acetylcholine by stimulating the enzymes that puts the two parts together. FBA can customize the nutrition necessary to enhance memory by determining which of these or other important nutrients are needed most. The other nutrients are most likely related to energy production.
Fatigue often accompanies memory problems. Making, storing, and retrieving memories requires ample amounts of neurotransmitters, which are assembled from an ample supply of amino acids. In the hierarchy of body needs, energy for daily survival is more important than short-term memory. This means that if the body begins to get run down, it will preferentially choose to utilize amino acids for energy creation rather than for making memory-supporting neurotransmitters. The Krebs cycle can steal amino acids to make energy at the expense of memory.
The figure above shows how amino acids (like tyrosine, which is used to make dopamine) are stolen by the Krebs cycle in order to provide energy for the whole body. The reason why this aggressive step is necessary is because the important precursor to the energy cycle, acetyl CoA, is no longer getting through. This can happen for a variety of reasons, with insulin surges and other blood sugar system imbalances leading the way.
In the case of memory and all functional imbalances, the whole person approach presents itself as the ideal option. If energy is being lost, one can be sure that more than just memory is suffering. Each of the steps of Functional Bio-Analysis reveals which systems are in the most trouble and the therapies best able to get them out.