Panning for gold in a never-ending stream of information…

One of my themes is resourcefulness, the valuable ability to devise effective ways and means of meeting any situation we face. I’m curious about how we can increase our capacity for resourcefulness. And about how we can discover and engage with available resources without being duped or overwhelmed.

To engage fully, we must recognize that there are two aspects of resourcefulness—what we find within ourselves, and what we can learn from others.

What are resources?

Our inner resources are the attitudes and skills developed from life experience. They keep us going and make us resilient. When we tap into our inner knowing, we bring these resources to the forefront. That’s why it’s helpful for each of us to find our own best method of accessing that inner wisdom. It makes us stronger and better able to cope. My recent blogs have been about accessing inner resources. But… Continue reading

A Revolutionary View of Alzheimer’s

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 It’s an outdated attitude that worked in the days when penicillin was discovered to kill the bacteria that caused pneumonia, rheumatic fever, blood poisoning and other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.

Discovery quote

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.

Comprehensive protocol

The research is compelling and Dr. Bredesen has recently published a book to make this new information accessible to all of us. A New York Times bestseller. The End of Alzheimer’s is a manual for professionals and the rest of us, featuring both the evidence behind the protocol, and practical information about what we can do.
In addition, physicians and other health professionals are being trained in this protocol around the world. And an institute is being established where people can go for treatment.
All of that is very encouraging, as is Dr. Bredesen’s assertion that we are at a unique point in history where we are able to attack complex chronic illnesses successfully for the first time. The interview below will give you a chance to hear him speak about his work and the impact it can have…for Alzheimer’s and beyond.

What to eat !??

My recent posts have covered a lot about the mental-emotional aspects of becoming well. But without doubt, the food we eat plays an equally important role. That will be my focus for the next few weeks.

What to eat…and why?

That’s not a simple question. It depends on your individual constitution and condition. And even if you’ve got a handle on that, you’ll find conflicting opinions among practitioners.

I’m going to start by giving you a chance to listen to Dr. Sarah Myhill. Then in the next few weeks, I’ll unpack some of the concepts she introduces and questions they might raise.

Dr. Myhill is a conventionally trained medical doctor in the UK. She was in general practice with the National Health Service (their version of medicare) for twenty years…and left to set up a private practice when the system did not allow her to practise the holistic, functional medicine that she is passionate about.

She was frustrated by the conventional approach with its focus on symptom-suppressing medications.  When patients had chronic illnesses, there was no opportunity to investigate why the person was in this condition—in other words, what were the mechanisms causing the illness and what could be done to address them?

You’ll get two things from watching this video

  1. Well-considered answers to a wide range of questions from an experienced practitioner.
  2. An excellent example of functional thinking about why our bodies may not function well and what can be done about it.

Continue reading

A book I’d have written if I hadn’t been writing mine

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Part 4 of my book Conscious Spending, Conscious Life is about health, safety and integrity of the future. It covers food and toxics, among other things. People are often surprised that I included health in a book about consumerism. But the truth is, food has become the ultimate consumer good—commercially grown, highly processed, and heavily marketed.

Navigating the consumer culture—unharmed—is a tricky task these days. Remaining healthy is one of the challenges. Despite relative wealth and an abundance of food products in North America, we continue to become more and more unhealthy.

Much of what we call “food” really isn’t. The dictionary defines food as “material that is used by the body to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes, as well as to furnish energy.” In a consumer culture, it is so easy to make poor choices and eat a lot that fills us up but doesn’t support our bodies in carrying out vital life processes. The choices we make can end up haunting us sooner or later.

When we become conscious of what we eat and try to do the right thing, we’re faced with confusing and conflicting information to sort through. While I was writing my section about food and toxics, I was frustrated by not having enough space to say everything I wanted to.

So I’m happy to tell you about a book I discovered Continue reading

Like gift-wrapping a tap-dancing elephant…

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My friend Maggie has a way with words. She says that attempting to describe my book is like trying to gift-wrap a tap-dancing elephant. She’s captured the dilemma perfectly! Continue reading

Financial Literacy: Crucial for all of us

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada. This annual event acknowledges the need to educate ourselves in a crucial area of life—how to navigate the consumer culture without being consumed by it.

This initiative came out of the work of a task force that travelled the country to assess the state of financial literacy in Canada.  My submission to that task force expressed the view that all post-secondary students should be required to complete a personal finance course in order to graduate.

I was pleased that the final report of the task force recommended that “…all provincial and territorial governments integrate financial literacy in the formal education system, including…post-secondary education and formalized adult learning activities.”

Realistically, this is unlikely to happen. But Continue reading