Cognitive Disorders: ADD to Alzheimer’s to Autism
The list of cognitive or neuro-cognitive disorders (sometimes known as neurodevelopmental disorders) has grown considerably over just the last twenty years. Pharmaceutical companies are ramping up to release more patented drugs to put yet more bandages on illnesses that have deeper root causes.
The list of cognitive and other spectrum disorders is long and seems to be expanding each year:
• Learning disabilities (LD)
• Pervasive developmental disorder/not otherwise specified (PDD/NOS)
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
In 1980, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which falls under the heading of psychiatric illness or mental disorder, was first introduced as a diagnosis for children. In 1987, ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity) was added. Within one year, over 500,000 children were tagged with the diagnosis and given psychotropic drugs for the symptoms.
Examples of drugs prescribed for ADD/HD in the stimulant category are Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall. When patented drugs, like Adderall, run their course and expire, they are replaced by drugs with new names like Vyvanse, using perhaps the same active or inactive substances.
Another non-stimulant drug, Strattera, inhibits norepinephrine and comes with a suicide warning. This significant brain chemical (norepinephrine) is needed for focus, concentration, and problem solving. These drugs are classified by the FDA as controlled substance drugs, the same as Morphine, and are recognized and received by the same receptor site in the brain as Cocaine. However, it is still not known for sure exactly how these drugs work.
This is just an example of what I mean when I say “root cause”. What’s going on with this particular norepinephrine neurotransmitter—and others—that it needs to be “inhibited”? What about amino acid therapy, along with important vitamin and mineral precursors?
The basis for diagnosis of ADD, Alzheimers, schizophrenia, or any of these cognitive disorders is based mostly on subjective criteria. However a wide range of subjective symptoms can overlap diagnosis categories since no two people are the same. This seems to be no different from a diagnosis such as Fibromyalgia. If a person meets most of the criteria, he or she gets lumped into a category.
In regard to drugs relating specifically to dementia and Alzheimer’s, the conclusions from a recent study showed that, “Higher cumulative anticholinergic use is associated with an increased risk for dementia. Efforts to increase awareness among health care professionals and older adults about this potential medication-related risk are important to minimize anticholinergic use over time.
An anticholinergic medication is one that inhibits the action of the natural biochemical and neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is critical for memory, among other things. A long list of strong anticholinergic drugs, such as Elavil (amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant) and anti-histamines are randomly over-prescribed.
While subjective criteria should be considered in the diagnosis procedure, these labels should not be put on children or adults until the health care professional digs deeper into the root cause. The patient should be extensively evaluated from a nutritional and holistic viewpoint. The root cause of the issues must be addressed instead of simply applying a medicated bandage to the symptom and pretend that it has fixed the deeper problem.
Testing for Nutritional Deficiency & Toxicity
There are many crucial tests for children or adults suffering with the symptoms of any neurological disorder from autism to Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia. A short list of nutritional and forensic testing and evaluations to consider are:
- Food allergies
- Gluten sensitivity or other food allergies
- Vitamin D
- Fatty acids
- Gut testing for yeast, viruses, bacteria, and parasites
- Hair Mineral Analysis
- 24-hour urine toxic metals
- Oxalates and other organic acids
- Adrenal hormones
Digging for deeper causes always consists of detoxification protocols to upregulate the function of the major organs and systems of the body. For instance, if the methylation pathway in the liver is compromised, numerous problems will result. If natural by-products of the methylation cycle, such as homocysteine, become too high (easily measured in blood), it will affect long term cognitive function.
A study conducted in Baltimore of 1,140 individuals between the ages of fifty and seventy found that higher homocysteine levels were “associated with worse function across a broad range of cognitive domains.” Oxford researchers found that when test subjects took Vitamin B6, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12, not only did their homocysteine level drop, but their cognitive test scores jumped by up to 70%.
Many people have a genetic SNP (faulty gene from one or both parent) which interferes with proper methylation function. This can be addressed through nutritional methods.
Proper interpretation and application of test results combined with the following whole body intervention will provide amazing results for the child or adult whose life is hindered by such pervasive and heart-breaking disorders:
- Dietary modification
- Nutritional support for the entire body, especially the central nervous system and the immune system
- Use of detoxification protocols
- Re-balance adrenal and other hormone levels
- Correction of intestinal dysbiosis (imbalance) caused by pathogenic bacteria, yeast, virus, or parasites
Please watch for On-Line courses, for more in-depth information on these Cognitive Disorders.