Functional Medicine

Some things are so complex they must be digested in small portions. That is what I’m feeling now, since reading the “End to Alzheimer’s” book.

Dennis has been questioning why we aren’t rushing down to the medical lab in Eau Claire and having him tested so he can begin the reversal process on his LBD. Last night I followed up on the tests recommended in the book – some 50 of them, each from $100 to $300 cost. It was difficult to tell if the lab offered the specific tests that we would want. It was also difficult to know which should be done first, if some were more important than others. It was above my pay scale to figure it all out. Which led me to the recommendation to search out a functional medicine doctor.

I really like the direction functional medicine is taking. I ended up watching an hour long lecture by a doctor at Cleveland Clinic. He was explaining functional medicine, where it started and why it was needed. I totally agree. It has added another very complex area of information to consider in the battle to save Dennis’s brain.

I will not take the time to explain what functional medicine is except to say that we are seeing the results in the medical news when we hear about inflammation being the roots of so many chronic diseases. That comes from discoveries in functional medicine. Also the new emphasis on our microbiome and the problem of “leaky gut”. That also come out of functional medicine research. These doctors are interested in the root cause of chronic conditions. They are aware that each patient has different reasons for becoming ill and different remedies are needed. Good stuff.

I tried to give the simple picture to Dennis – why we are not rushing into the lab work. The good news is that there is a functional medicine practitioner in our health network. The office is 90 miles from us but we are used to going that far for specialists. I’m hoping we can make an appointment and get help sorting through the complexity of testing.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure we’ve been doing some of the right things in the magnesium supplementation, and the ketogenic diet (which we need to follow a bit more closely…) Dennis is feeling and acting better. We do not know if it is in response to what we are doing or just a fluctuation of LBD. Time will tell. At any rate, things are better right now and I, for one, am enjoying that part of it.


Finding Hope


I am excited to learn that what is happening in LBD is really the body’s attempt to defend itself. God has designed us marvelously and if we treat our bodies right, they will heal themselves. Sometimes, that is the miracle.

Originally, I started this blog site with the word “hope” in the title because I believed that God would help us through whatever was ahead with Lewy Body Dementia, or maybe even heal Dennis of it completely. I thought a miraculous healing was the only way that would happen. The medical specialists we encountered gave no other hope from their side of things. I was even a little shocked that having been given the diagnosis, and a prescription for a drug that could maybe help cognitive function for “a little while”, we were dismissed with no recommendation for follow up of any kind.

Dennis did some research shortly after that which started him on a different track. He believed, or wanted desperately to believe, that he was going to turn this disease around. Several things made him think that, one of which was a report that claimed cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s Dementia had been reversed in a small study. The patients involved responded to the therapy and regained what they had lost, went back to work and normal functioning.

Since then, the researcher, a UCLA based physician, has written a book detailing the therapy. He also shares the story of how the research progressed to develop a new understanding of cognitive decline in neurodegenerative diseases. I love this quote from the book:

“Now, often the most interesting and revealing experiments – the moments when an invisible chemical or an inconsequential cell can move the Earth – are not the ones that succeed as expected, nor are they the ones that fail outright: they are the ones that yield results that are just the opposite of what you expected.”

I can feel his excitement from the beginning of his search right up to the present. Hundreds of people have benefitted from this protocol which has been named ReCode and word is spreading quickly, thanks more to the web than anything else. Dr. Dale Bredesen and those who have gotten their life back after Alzheimer’s have a passion for conquering this devastating disease. He writes “…for if necessity is indeed the mother of invention, then perhaps passion is its father.”

I have finished most of the book, finally. We have had it for some time but there have been so many things to cope with, so many surprises, so many caretaking problems to solve, that I have been overwhelmed. Fortunately, we have been learning about and doing some of the things in the protocol. Even though I was skeptical of some of Dennis’s practices of magnesium supplementation, of autophagy, and his extremes of fasting and avoiding electricity, we have been doing a lot of it. Maybe that has been responsible for staving off further decline.

I am hopeful. Everyone should know about this because Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, LBD and other dementias are becoming epidemic and they can be prevented. As Bredesen and his researchers agree, no one should die like this and they don’t have to. Read the book. Find hope.

Taking It All In…

There have been several poignant moments today. In one of them, I could tell that my LO (loved one, as they say in the support group) was feeling very emotional. He was standing listening to a song “All Is Well with My Soul” and was clearly losing his composure – this, in front of our good friends visiting from Florida. I hugged him and helped him sway to the music. We danced, or something close to that, for the remainder of the song. He was able to quiet himself and come to the breakfast table with us.

Later, we were meeting with our pastor over a matter of great concern to us both. I had promised him he could talk and tell the pastor whatever he wanted to tell him. They talked for 90 minutes. One of the things that came out was his remembrance that I had said he was not the man I thought he was, when I married him. He wanted to admit that he had not been fully present in some of his family duties. His evidence that I felt that way was that I referred to him in my writing as “the husband”, not by his name, Dennis. This was the first time I had heard this and I was a little shocked to learn how he felt about it. It is easily remedied and I will call him Dennis from now on.

The last thing on today’s list of new realities was hearing Dennis’s announcement of finding new articles proving the connection between electrical sensitivity and Lewy Body Dementia. Once again, he is alarmed anew, to the extent of experiencing “angina” across his chest. Our proximity to power lines is an imminent danger to him, to me, and to my family. Nothing anyone has said about this matter has changed his narrative. I’m wondering if this is what the support group refers to as “looping”.

I also read something alarming today. There is a statistic that says 40% of caretakers die before their patient does, for various reasons (neglect of their own health, stress, etc…). Although I aim to be among the 60% that don’t, I have to admit that it is stressful to repeatedly hear about how we are all in grave danger, on the road to self destruction if we don’t heed the warnings of my husband, Dennis.

It’s All Connected


This is a list of links to articles that the husband has been reading and discussing with his brother for the last couple of months. I intend to read them one or two at a time and try to summarize what they mean, in addition to what they mean to him.

His research often starts with a symptom he’s experiencing and trying to understand. He uses google on his phone and reads, then he forwards the link to his brother who is a retired university biologist. One article will lead him to another one, and there is always a connection to be made to the next thing. Sometimes I can see his reasoning and other times I think he’s stretching things a bit. A common thread is that he believes many of his symptoms have something to do with magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is needed for so many functions on the cellular lever that a deficiency could affect any organ system in the body. He believes correcting the deficiency could reverse the damage in the brain that causes diseases like AD and LBD. That’s what he’s trying to do.  The Lewy Body Dementia Association, nonprofit, national This is the article about reversal of cognitive decline that gives the husband hope  about autophagy  this is where the interest in magnesium began all about nitric oxide’s influence, enhance NO may prevent inflammation he tries to figure out why eating cheese gives him a sensation in his head about how milk is a good source of magnesium and how magnesium has to be present for vitamin D to be processed soy beverages decrease the bioavailability of Mg and Ca red clay interest him, however magnesium levels are low in clay because of leaching  the uses and actions of bentonite clay, a source of magnesium and a chelating agent for heavy metals  nutrients in bone broth such as collagen and other proteins contribute to skin health and gut health  magnesium and autonomic cardiovascular regulation, hypertension  pdf of magnesium rich foods laughter promotes health, use in relieving depression magnesium in a more bioavailable form from Dr. Carolyn Dean – ReMag Rapamycin and autophagy as potential treatments for AD autophagy contributes to limiting viral

pathogens dietary buffers for dairy cattle – no clue why this is relevant the brain, PTSD, TBI this is a good one on magnesium deficiency, why it’s widespread and dangerous. doctor get Nobel Prize for discoveries about autophagy. Fasting and autophagy to rid body of damaged/broken cellular components the role of nutrition and supplementation in macular degeneration Varicose veins, home remedies and nutritional advice magnesium deficiency can lead to hair loss and scalp problems, dietary and supplemental Mg can have positive effect on hair growth magnesium for maximum heart health Dr. Carolyn Dean on magnesium Dr. Carolyn Dean on fibromyalgia and CFS Magnesium basics, importance of Mg in numerous body functions

We Go to a Summit


We have spent a couple of days driving to and attending a conference, a summit on Lewy Body Dementia put on by Mayo Clinic. They put on a very efficient and informative event and I’m glad we were able to go. Dennis met and talked with quite a few people who are struggling with LBD, like he is, and I know it helped him to not feel alone. He viewed himself as being able to encourage others and give them hope. I also met caretakers going through what I’m going through and much worse. It was also interesting to learn more about a complex and difficult condition. The ONLY time nutrition was referenced was when they announced breakfast, lunch and snacks (which, by the way, were very well done and worth the $30 per person registration). I’m pretty sure Dennis was the only person who said the word magnesium, and thankfully he didn’t say it very often.

The virus I’ve been fighting is gradually playing itself out. I kind of wonder why it does that instead of living on in the most virulent stage. Is it that my immune system is developing weapons against it, or that it has a life cycle that determines its course? I am still coughing and uncomfortable but I had no headache yesterday and was able to sit through the day without leaving the conference or making those around me feel infected.

Travel is interesting in that I see how much care Dennis needs in unfamiliar environments. There is nothing about our travel that he plans or gives thought to.  He tries at the last minute to be the “man in charge” by asking how much gas is in the vehicle, or if I have all the cords and device chargers packed. I appreciate our handicapped tag at restaurants and stores, but sometimes it is even easier (or required) that I drop him off at the door of a place and then go park somewhere away, and walk back carrying whatever stuff we have with us. It is often easier to provide him with food or drink than witness his confusion about how to get it himself.  For my own sake, I take more time to look him over, making sure his clothes don’t have spots on them and he doesn’t have food on his face. He doesn’t know how he looks in his stocking cap and puts it on in all sorts of weird ways.  It is partly for my own benefit that I try to get him to be clean shaven and appropriately dressed, but also to keep others from getting negative first impressions.  It’s not all about LBD I don’t think. He’s been unaware in varying degrees for years and years. Or maybe it has been LBD and he’s just had it longer than we know.

He takes all this “herding around” in good humor and jokes about it. He doesn’t fight my planning and decisions (because I don’t tell him ahead of time?) and as long as I let him think about where he wants to eat, he’s good with things and enjoys himself. His biggest challenge is finding restrooms when he needs them. We are constantly dealing with changing conditions, whether it be constipation, diarrhea, or urinary frequency so I keep my brain working on the location of any restroom we pass by.

One concept that was presented at the conference that I find especially intriguing was on the subject of hallucinations. The question was presented to a speaker about how to waken someone from a hallucination, which moved him to talk about what a hallucination was. He felt there was a possible connection between them and the REM sleep disorder that most LBD patients have.  Something about the LBD brain blocks the normal paralysis that people experience when they sleep. Normal people are kept, for the most part, from acting out their dreams. LBD people have physical response to their dream world. What if they also are missing the block that keeps the dream world out of their real physical world? These hallucinations that are realer than real to them, could be their dream life entering into their consciousness. We all know how real some dreams seem to us, and that is why their visions are so troubling to them. The husband does not have that problem, yet, thankfully.

This morning back at home, I am writing with frequent interruptions. As I tried to watch the sky and have my morning coffee at 6:30, the husband also got up and came out wanting to talk about ordinary things. “What is the temperature?” “The sun is in my eyes – can you lower the shade?” “I only had to get up once last night.” “I’ve learned to control my drooling by lightly pressing on C-3.” “Do we have earbuds so I can talk to my brother without using speaker phone?”

Mom has explained to me that she isn’t trying to be mean in going to her room and shutting the door all the time. She just can’t take the constant engagement on the subjects of the husband’s choice. It even bothers her to hear his telephone calls for hours.  But she says she is ok living in her bedroom, and I notice she now has a “dining table” with salt, pepper and her own small coffee maker in there.  I miss her and the times we would spend talking in the morning. It’s often the choice now between meeting my own needs for fellowship – leaving the husband rather obviously segregated, or staying out with him in view of his need for some kind of socialization. Why is he getting up so early?  Was it depression that kept him sleeping until 10 every morning? And now he’s all excited and hopeful? We can’t figure it out.

We’ll figure out one day at a time. Things are always changing.