Magnesium and Alzheimer’s – Q & A With Carolyn Dean, MD, ND

Boris Levitsky
What are the challenges of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, and distinguishing it from related dementias and other related conditions?

“The real challenge in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is distinguishing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with mild Alzheimer’s. MCI can occur from something as simple as dehydration, magnesium deficiency, medications or stress all of which can be treated. But if you diagnose someone with Alzheimer’s that tends to put them in a chronic disease category with drugs that may only help control the symptoms. “

What related medical conditions can give you a clue that it might be Alzheimer’s? What specific signs and symptoms truly set it apart?

“There are no medical conditions that are associated with Alzheimer’s. It’s ultimately diagnosed post mortem on a brain biopsy of microscopic changes in the brain. In reality a doctor has to interview the family and the patient to establish a progressive history of short-term memory loss and deterioration of language, speech, personality, judgment, decision-making, concentration or awareness of surroundings.”

There are a lot of “myths,” or misconceptions about Alzheimer’s: Can you choose the top two or three that you hear from patients, and what the truth is in each case?

“People of all ages are afraid when they forget something that they are getting Alzheimer’s.”

“People think it’s genetic.”

Can you give me your take on the “new” Alzheimer’s drugs (cholinesterase inhibitors) that seem to delay the progression of the disease?

“From what I’ve heard and read, it seems best to temper your expectations with these drugs.”

“When we have not even identified “the cause” of Alzheimer’s, it seems premature to be treating with drugs. Also if a possible cause is aluminum poisoning or mercury in flu shots or some other toxicity, taking medications can cause more toxicity.”

What have we learned in recent years about Alzheimer’s prevention earlier in life?

“I’ve seen people with symptoms of dementia, mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s respond to a better diet, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B and cod liver oil.”

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