Albert Einstein is frequently quoted for saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Much of what goes on in medicine fits this definition. Researchers and practitioners go around in circles, trying small variations on the same approach, and not finding the results they hope for.
The issue is, all of the variations are rooted in the same mindset. In medicine, the prevailing mindset is that the solution to any condition is a magic bullet in the form of a pill to correct the issue. It’s an outdated attitude that worked in the days when penicillin was discovered to kill the bacteria that caused pneumonia, rheumatic fever, blood poisoning and other infections. Penicillin was the magic bullet that ushered in the age of antibiotics at a time when untreated infections were a major cause of death.
However, the landscape has shifted. Today’s health issues are primarily complex chronic conditions. Think heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, chronic fatigue and Alzheimer’s. Despite the enormous amount o money and effort put toward finding the magic bullet, it hasn’t happened.
The prevailing medical view of Alzheimer’s is a good example of stuck thinking.
Doctors are taught that once a person shows signs of Alzheimer’s, continued deterioration is inevitable. Drugs might be able to slow the progression, but there is absolutely no possibility of reversing the condition.
As the title of this post suggests, that belief has now been proven to be untrue. But before we look at who says so and why, let’s get a fuller sense of the prevailing medical view. Here’s some of what the Mayo clinic says in its information for patients:
Alzheimer’s drugs might be one strategy to help you temporarily manage memory loss, thinking and reasoning problems, and day-to-day function. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s drugs don’t work for everyone, and they can’t cure the disease or stop its progression. Over time, their effects wear off.
…Clinical trials testing whether Alzheimer’s drugs might prevent progression of MCI [mild cognitive impairment] to Alzheimer’s have generally shown no lasting benefit.
…Cholinesterase inhibitors [the main class of medication] can’t reverse Alzheimer’s disease or stop the destruction of nerve cells. These medications eventually lose effectiveness… Common side effects can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
…Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, your symptoms and care plan will change over time. …Because the effects of Alzheimer’s drugs are usually modest, it might be difficult to tell if the drugs are working. However, you can’t know if your symptoms might be more severe without your medication.
With that as the current view, is it any wonder there is great anxiety among aging adults? What a hopeless situation to face.
Except…it isn’t hopeless at all.
Dr. Dale Bredesen has created an entirely different outcome for patients by approaching Alzheimer’s from a different mindset. Instead of using the magic bullet approach, he’s using a “magic buckshot” protocol.
Dr. Bredesen sees patients in the same condition as other researchers and clinicians, but thinks differently about what is going on and what would help. Instead of looking for one therapy for Alzheimer’s, he recognizes that it’s a condition with multiple contributing factors. In the interview below, he points out that looking for a mono-therapy to treat a complex chronic illness is like using a checker strategy for a chess match. It can’t work.
His program, which has been tested and published, considers 36 different entry points when determining how to treat a particular person. As he notes, they are looking for the root cause(s) and this can differ from person to person. You might be surprised to learn that mold in the environment and heavy metals like mercury in the body are among these factors.
The stunning finding is that people experience sustained improvement when continuing on the protocol because they are treating the root cause. Next spring, Dr. Bredesen’s organization will launch a documentary that follows people using this protocol and shows the impact on their lives.