Healthy Living

Understanding Dementia

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Margot Marshall (Host), Dr. Eddie Ramirez


Series Code: HL

Program Code: HL000014A

00:15 Welcome to "Healthy Living!"
00:17 I'm your host Margot Marshall.
00:19 There are 36 documented causes of dementia,
00:23 like a roof with 36 holes in it.
00:26 What are those causes and is there anything we can do
00:30 to prevent this disease? Stay tuned.
01:08 My guest today is Dr. Eddie Ramirez.
01:11 Eddie is currently involved in a cutting-edge clinical trial
01:15 to stop dementia.
01:17 Tell us, Eddie, what exactly is dementia?
01:21 Well that's actually a very good question because
01:24 that is a huge problem in today's world.
01:28 How big a problem is it?
01:30 Well one of the standardized definitions of dementia
01:34 is the decline of information processing abilities accompanied
01:40 by changes in personality and behavior.
01:44 In other words, as the brain starts to affect the normal
01:48 processing, the personality and the behavior change,
01:52 and this is actually an umbrella
01:55 definition which means there are different types
01:58 of dementia - there's not only one.
02:01 Being the most common of them the Alzheimer's dementia.
02:06 And, yes, I'm involved in doing research in this.
02:10 We are working together with a hospital in India,
02:15 and we're starting to establish a protocol - there's so much
02:20 research coming up with this hot topic of today and big
02:24 universities like, in California, UCLA, UC Berkeley;
02:30 they are coming up with fascinating research that
02:33 shows that dementia can be stopped if you are able
02:39 to implement lifestyle changes within the 10 first years
02:44 of its origin.
02:46 That is really, really good to hear.
02:48 One, to think that it could be stopped because I don't
02:50 know whether perhaps people tuning in actually understand
02:53 that - maybe they think once it starts,
02:56 well it's just downhill, but it can be stopped.
02:59 That is really, really good and the other thing I think is
03:01 encouraging - you talked about a 10-year window of time
03:05 to actually stop it or even maybe
03:08 turn it around? Is that possible?
03:10 That's right! So that was the old thinking - "dementia
03:14 cannot be stopped," but the current research is showing
03:19 there is hope when you start those changes at the beginning.
03:25 At the beginning - okay, so that's important
03:27 just to act fairly quickly but within that window of time,
03:31 and during that window of time of 10 years.
03:33 That's really, really, really good news!
03:36 And I'm really glad - I've got to say this, I need to say it,
03:40 We are very privileged to have you right there on the
03:43 cutting edge of this new research to be able to tell us
03:46 those things and also later some of the solutions,
03:50 what we can do to stop it.
03:52 So we're very, very pleased to have you on our program.
03:55 Thank you and unfortunately, we don't have the time to deal
04:00 with the 36 well-documented lifestyle changes that we
04:05 need to do but we will highlight some of the most important ones.
04:09 However, we know that dementia is becoming very common.
04:14 In fact, we can see, on the screen, how common this
04:18 problem is, in Australia, to the point that it has become
04:21 the second leading cause of death in Australia.
04:26 That is huge! Absolutely huge!
04:29 Which tells me that if you live in Australia,
04:32 and you live like the average Australian, you have
04:37 a huge risk of developing dementia!
04:41 I'm glad you're tuning in today.
04:44 I want you to grab some paper and a pen because you're
04:48 going to have to take some notes on changes that I'll be
04:52 proposing to you and you decide if you want to implement them.
04:56 We do know that those changes have been documented
04:59 in the scientific literature to help you maintain
05:03 that healthy brain because you know, once the brain
05:06 is gone, everything is gone.
05:08 So make sure that you take care of that brain.
05:12 That's right and I think the worst part about this particular
05:15 disease or group of diseases is that you just lose your
05:20 independence and that's really sad.
05:23 I think that's probably one of the most difficult things
05:26 to come to terms with, I think in any illness,
05:31 you know, not to be independent.
05:33 That's right and that's why we're seeing
05:36 an increase of this problem.
05:38 The latest statistics show that 1 in 10 people over the
05:44 age of 65 will develop that dementia.
05:47 And in fact, 3 out of 10 people over 80 we will have to
05:52 diagnose those people with dementia.
05:56 So that is quite important, and not only that,
05:59 dementia is a labor-intensive problem.
06:05 It requires, here in Australia, 1.2 million people to care
06:11 for those 350,000 people that have dementia
06:15 here in Australia and after the age of 65, the probability
06:24 of having dementia increases; and again, it has to do with
06:30 the way you live.
06:31 So imagine, this is not like diabetes - seeing my patient
06:36 with diabetes, I see him once a month to check his medications,
06:39 his control, and so forth, and then he goes home
06:42 and he takes care of himself.
06:44 But somebody with dementia, you cannot do that,
06:48 you need somebody monitoring them, watching them,
06:52 helping them step-by-step and that's
06:54 why it's so labor-intensive.
06:57 And you cannot say, "Well I don't care about that,
06:59 I don't have dementia.
07:00 "Yes, you may not have dementia, but your taxes
07:03 need to help with this and everybody is affected
07:08 when dementia increases.
07:09 So this is something we all need to take notice of
07:11 because we're all affected by it, yes.
07:14 That's an interesting perspective
07:16 that you put on that.
07:18 And a common question that I get in my medical practice
07:22 is, "Doctor, am I getting dementia or is this normal?"
07:28 I'd be very interested to hear about that because, you know,
07:32 as people do get older, our memories start to just
07:35 stray a little bit or it's not so easy to recall things,
07:38 and do you assume, if that's beginning to happen,
07:42 that you're on your way to dementia? Is that the case?
07:44 That's right, so we need to...
07:46 Is that right? Laughter.
07:48 We need to differentiate between normal aging
07:51 and dementia. So there's a difference.
07:52 There is a difference. Alright.
07:54 Not everybody that ages necessarily needs to have
08:00 dementia.
08:01 See, normal aging - the brain slows down a little bit,
08:05 and you can see that in the fact that communications
08:09 slows and the ability to process
08:12 slows but the intelligence stays the same.
08:14 Your ability to plan and use the frontal lobe of your brain
08:21 continues to be normal and your thinking and reaction
08:27 times slows down.
08:29 In fact, there's actually a relationship between
08:32 the lifestyle that you have and this impact.
08:35 If you had the wrong type of lifestyle, your brain is
08:40 going to slow down more and it's going to do it faster.
08:43 Your brain vessels that go to your brain - they're
08:46 very delicate and anything that interrupts that blood flow
08:51 will have a big effect.
08:53 Alright, so we've established that normal aging is
08:56 not dementia but you've also said that the rate that we
09:01 slow down in normal aging, is affected by our lifestyle.
09:05 That's right! There's actually a published research
09:08 that shows that the faster you walk as you age,
09:13 it actually will predict your longevity.
09:16 People that walk slower as they age, the probability
09:21 of having medical problems and even dying - increases.
09:25 That's why, as we will be talking about it in a few
09:29 minutes, things like exercise are so important.
09:33 And I want you to see this as an investment - you make
09:37 good investment choices, later on you will get good
09:41 dividends and the investment will grow.
09:44 You make poor choices today, and believe me,
09:48 the bill will arrive sooner or later.
09:51 I'm surprised - people that have my age that are my friends,
09:55 some of them are very sick and need to take all kinds of
10:00 medications and so forth and that is a reflection
10:04 of the lifestyle that they are living.
10:07 How important your brain is regarding the things like
10:10 oxygen and blood flow, statistically speaking - only
10:14 2% of your whole weight is what your brain weighs.
10:20 Yet 25% of all the oxygen of the body is consumed
10:25 by your brain. That's incredible!
10:28 So anything that decreases a tiny little bit - the blood flow
10:32 or the oxygen, will have a huge effect in your mental health.
10:38 That's right, so any decrease would be about 12 times as
10:42 much the impact on oxygen delivery - is that right?
10:45 That's exactly the point! It's big, yes.
10:48 So why don't we start talking about some of those strategies
10:55 that we need to do: #1. In order to
10:58 prevent dementia.
11:00 #2. If dementia is in its early stages, what we can do.
11:06 See, we can divide dementia problems between mild,
11:12 moderate, and severe.
11:14 In the mild type of dementia, many times the person
11:17 is not even aware they have the problem.
11:20 They start forgetting things, especially new information,
11:25 they have problems capturing that new information.
11:28 I need to tell you a telephone, you're supposed to hold it
11:31 for a few seconds, then you can dial it - that's simple
11:33 operation - they have problems with that.
11:36 Their intelligence starts to decrease and then they come
11:40 to a point in which they start to realize
11:42 something is not right - creates anxiety and so forth.
11:45 Then you go to the second stage, the one that is moderate
11:48 in which is very well-marked that
11:51 something is not right there.
11:53 The person starts even forgetting their loved ones,
11:56 their friends and normal things that you and I would be
12:00 difficult to forget, they forget.
12:03 And then you enter into the severe type in which the person
12:06 is completely dependent on others for care.
12:10 So we're talking about the mild problems as it just
12:14 started - that's what research is showing that we can
12:16 stop this problem.
12:18 So we can see on the screen, the #1 point we need to
12:22 deal with is to understand that there are early symptoms
12:27 for Alzheimer's and problems with memory that are episodic,
12:34 difficulty with that short term memory and remembering that.
12:38 Problems naming objects, problems finding common words.
12:44 These tell us something is not right.
12:47 If you have this type of problems, I would suggest
12:50 that you go to your physician or your medical professional.
12:54 There are standardized tests to see if something is right or
12:59 if this is not normal.
13:01 You mentioned "episodes" there, Eddie, what would we be
13:04 talking about there - so this is when some of these things
13:07 manifest themselves (More markedly) once in a while
13:11 perhaps and then things go along smoothly and then
13:14 there's another - is that what we're talking about?
13:16 That's right, so it's not like when you are conversing
13:21 with somebody and you have a friend - a long time ago
13:24 since you've seen him, you may forget his name.
13:26 That's something normal - the brain tries to keep the new
13:29 information that you're using very easily accessible.
13:33 So you may forget, "Oh what's his name, oh, oh,
13:36 oh and it was Mark, it was Mark!"
13:38 But when you are having this type of Alzheimer's type
13:43 of issue, the problem is more severe - things that it would be
13:48 hard for you to forget - these people start to
13:52 forget this type of issues.
13:53 So let's deal with the solutions that we need to do
13:57 in order to help the problem of dementia.
14:02 #1. The first thing you need to do, very important,
14:06 is to follow a plant-based diet.
14:10 We know that things like simple carbohydrates, you know,
14:14 the sugars and the white flours, those things what they do
14:19 in the body - they create an insulin spike.
14:24 And you know, things that affect you and give you a risk
14:29 for diabetes will also give you
14:33 a risk for mental-type of problems.
14:37 Oh that's an interesting connection.
14:39 So that's why some researchers call dementia the brother
14:45 of diabetes!
14:46 That's an incredible thing to have that link.
14:48 So we know that people that have dementia, many of them
14:52 actually have what is called "insulin resistance."
14:57 That's the reason why if things help with diabetes,
15:02 will also help to prevent dementia.
15:05 Keeping the blood sugar under better control?
15:07 That's right, keeping that blood sugar low and so forth.
15:09 So make sure that you are following a
15:12 plan to avoid that diabetes!
15:15 Somebody with diabetes has a high risk of dementia,
15:18 so beware of that.
15:20 Then we have the second point that we can see on the screen.
15:23 Make sure you are dealing well with your stress!
15:28 Stress that is chronic is actually
15:32 quite harmful to the brain.
15:35 Once in a while that you get an emergency and so forth
15:38 a stressful situation, it's fine.
15:40 But to live under that high level constant type of stress
15:46 that is very harmful to the brain.
15:50 That's why I encourage patients to use spiritual resources.
15:54 You know, read the Bible, read something inspirational,
15:58 pray - don't keep that anger and hate and
16:04 unforgiveness in your heart.
16:06 These types of feelings are very harmful to your
16:10 mental health and you don't win absolutely anything
16:14 by harboring these types of feelings - so use
16:18 spiritual resources to help you deal with that stress.
16:23 Then we have the next point and that is sleep.
16:27 Sleep is such an important thing to prevent dementia.
16:32 See current research is telling us that when you are
16:36 sleeping, you are actually cleansing and cleaning all those
16:42 neurons as a car that is functioning and it needs to be
16:47 generating all that smoke - that why you have a pipe
16:51 called the "muffler" to get that smoke out of the motor
16:55 because if that smoke stayed in the motor,
16:58 the motor would stop - it couldn't work properly.
17:02 In the same way, your cells in the brain that we said
17:06 use 25% of your oxygen have high metabolism generate
17:12 many waste products and those waste products need to be
17:17 dealt with and when you are sleeping, the brain
17:21 changes - these are fascinating things that are happening
17:24 when you're sleeping and the brain goes ahead and
17:28 starts removing all those toxins.
17:30 But if you are not sleeping your 7- 8 hours,
17:35 those toxins stay there and they have a very negative
17:40 effect on your health.
17:42 That makes a whole lot of sense and I've never understood
17:45 that before - it's really good that you...
17:47 I like to understand why things happen and that was a
17:49 really good explanation.
17:51 So make sure you are sleeping enough - I even recorded a
17:57 program on melatonin here on 3ABN, I suggest you
18:00 find that program if you have issues with your sleep.
18:05 Also, apart from sleep, we also have another point that
18:09 is extremely essential for mental health and that is
18:13 exercise!
18:15 We live in such a sedentary society today.
18:20 Everything is so easy, you know.
18:22 I have visited Africa many times and you get a little glimpse
18:28 of how our ancestors used to live there.
18:32 You know, there in Africa in the area that I spent
18:36 some months, there are no grocery stores.
18:40 Where do people buy their food?
18:42 That's unimaginable!
18:44 They have to plant their food; you're lazy,
18:47 you don't want to plant - you go hungry!
18:48 There is no other option, you know.
18:50 So people are constantly working.
18:53 You want water? There's no faucet you just
18:55 open and the beautiful, clean water comes out.
18:58 No! You get a bucket, you walk 4 kilometers, get to the
19:02 river, get to where the pump is, get your water,
19:05 and walk back.
19:07 You want to cook something?
19:08 There's no such thing as a stove that you just turn on,
19:11 and nice and warm.
19:13 No! You need to go with an axe, walk your kilometers,
19:17 cut a piece of wood, bring it back.
19:19 Our ancestors used to live like this.
19:23 Everything they were doing was constant activity
19:28 throughout the day.
19:29 And you know, today I ask my patients - "I want you to
19:33 do 30 minutes of exercise minimum."
19:35 What do they say? "Oh 30 minutes,
19:38 that is too much!"
19:40 You know for one of those people in rural Africa,
19:44 that would be a vacation day, you know - the day
19:46 they only need to do 30 minutes of exercise. Wow.
19:48 So current research shows that it's not only that you need to
19:53 login your 45 minute walk in the morning - you need to
19:57 find ways of being constantly active throughout the day.
20:04 It's a good idea if you want to go to measure the number of
20:08 steps you're taking and a good goal would be 6,000,
20:12 but a better goal would be 10,000 steps per day.
20:16 I sometimes need to do a little bit of computer work.
20:20 My undergraduate is computer science, so use
20:22 lots of computers and I have chosen to have
20:26 a standing desk. Good!
20:28 In that way, I am actually doing activity.
20:32 There are actually treadmills that you can do
20:35 a desk treadmill and get that benefit.
20:38 The next point I want to talk about is "challenge your brain."
20:44 This is such an important issue
20:46 and I see this in the clinical practice.
20:48 The patient comes, very happy, telling me, "Doctor,
20:51 guess what? I just finished my job and I
20:55 finally retire!"
20:57 Instead of saying, "Congratulations, that's great!"
21:00 I say, "No, wait a minute, you need to
21:03 get yourself in trouble."
21:05 And I see this, you know, people that retire and
21:10 they become sedentary and they decrease the challenge
21:15 to their brain - those people are going to go
21:18 down really quickly.
21:19 So find yourself ways to get yourself in "trouble."
21:24 Some of the populations that are longest lived
21:26 don't even have a word for "retire." That's right!
21:29 And they can't understand even the concept of retiring.
21:31 And when you talk to them about it, they're like
21:33 - they don't get it," it's like "what are you talking about,
21:36 this is not what we do." Yes.
21:39 So that's why it's so important to find challenges
21:43 for your brain!
21:44 Like what? What sort of challenges?
21:46 For example, find yourself a way of doing
21:49 volunteering work.
21:51 Now you have plenty of time, don't just think on
21:55 yourself, think of others.
21:57 As you are serving others, you actually receive a
22:02 blessing yourself.
22:04 I know there are many different programs like the
22:07 "CHIP Program" here in Australia.
22:09 You can volunteer there, you can learn new things;
22:12 learn your languages; travel; find things
22:16 you're not used to doing like using a new musical
22:19 instrument - in that way you'll challenge your brain.
22:22 We have the next point on the screen about how to
22:27 deal with that dementia and that has to do with your diet.
22:31 See, animal products have too much saturated fat and that
22:38 saturated fat actually will increase your risk of dementia.
22:43 So that's why what we need to do is we need to cut down
22:47 animal products and in that way, we avoid most of the
22:51 saturated fat and we need to focus ourselves
22:54 in using good healthy oils such as the ones that are found
23:00 in nuts - that is the type of fat that your brain
23:05 likes to use.
23:06 And not only that, we also see on our screen the next very
23:13 important point and that point has to do with avoiding
23:18 those hydrogenated types of oils and using vitamins
23:25 if they are needed - both points are very important.
23:29 Partially hydrogenated oils function in your body
23:35 by damaging the delicate blood vessels that you have.
23:40 Where do you find this?
23:41 Read your ingredients - many of the baked products
23:46 that are in packages, you find those
23:49 types of partially hydrogenated oils.
23:53 And vitamins, you know, things like vitamin B12, vitamin D,
23:58 and many other vitamins may be needed and after we take a blood
24:02 test - then we know what is needed, then you can take them.
24:05 We know that taking minerals - just because your taking
24:09 minerals may have actually a harmful effect,
24:12 so use what you need.
24:16 There are people that try to sell you this or that - be
24:19 careful, use things that you need,
24:22 not things that you don't need.
24:23 The next point that we have on the screen is "probiotics."
24:28 And probiotics are things that help keep a good
24:35 intestinal flora health.
24:37 So I encourage my patients to find, for example,
24:41 soy yogurt that would be a very good source of probiotic
24:46 or also prebiotic.
24:49 Prebiotics are things that encourage the growth
24:52 of good bacteria.
24:53 One of the best ones you can use is legumes,
24:58 so make sure you put legumes.
24:59 And one last thing I want to mention - switch yourself
25:03 if you're very interested in preventing dementia,
25:05 to a two-meal setting.
25:08 Some people say, "Doctor, I cannot
25:09 do that, I'm going to be hungry."
25:11 Believe me, if you're eating good quality food,
25:15 you are not going to be hungry.
25:17 I work in lifestyle centers in which we put every patient
25:21 on two meals a day and there is no problem.
25:23 So you may be thinking, "Doctor how effective
25:26 this program actually is?"
25:29 Well it's actually published in the scientific literature
25:34 cases in which we are reversing this problem.
25:39 That's the word I really like to hear.
25:41 It's really good - you know you can stop this disease
25:44 in that first 10 years, but reversing is a really
25:47 beautiful word for any disease and I'm sure that people
25:51 listening to this program are going to be thinking,
25:54 "I need to know how to do this."
25:56 Let's watch on the screen, the clinical case that is
25:59 published and the reference is there if you're interested
26:01 in finding it.
26:03 This lady was 68 years old, she was diagnosed
26:07 with dementia - we started the lifestyle changes
26:10 UCLA University and 2 and 1-1/2 years later, now at age 70,
26:17 she remains asymptomatic and continues to work fulltime.
26:21 The lady had the dementia diagnosed.
26:25 That's right, no symptoms currently.
26:26 The lady had the dementia diagnosed; the lady starts
26:30 the lifestyle interventions; dementia is stopped!
26:33 She gets sick and she says, "You know, forget it,
26:36 I'm not gonna follow this program."
26:38 Dementia comes back.
26:40 She follows again the program and dementia stops
26:44 and that is exactly how the article closes.
26:47 She continues to work fulltime.
26:50 If you have dementia, you're going to have problems
26:53 working fulltime; she is healthy and so forth.
26:56 So make sure that you try to implement all these things.
27:01 Currently, I'm involved in developing this program
27:04 at the level of community.
27:06 I'm going to be developing a program in which I can
27:09 teach communities how to implement these
27:12 principles to approach this problem.
27:15 And you're going to be doing one locally, I hope?
27:18 Absolutely! We plan to do this also in Australia
27:21 as we plan to do this all over the world.
27:24 So as you can see, you can choose your health
27:29 of the future.
27:30 By the choices you take today, they will have positive
27:35 or negative consequences.
27:37 The latest research that we have regarding dementia
27:40 is that our choices have big consequences.
27:44 And what I would encourage you to do is to contact
27:47 3ABN Australia and they can give you my information
27:51 if you want to find out more about those holes
27:54 and how to plug them in so you can avoid
27:57 this horrible problem of dementia.
28:00 Oh thank you so much, that's been very informative,
28:03 and I'm sure it has been very encouraging
28:05 to a lot of our people.
28:07 We hope today's program will help you to get more out of
28:09 life and if you'd like to watch our programs on demand,
28:13 just go to our website at:
28:18 and click on the watch button.
28:20 We hope you will join us next time and get more information
28:23 about other topics that is very, very useful to know.
28:26 And God bless you!


Revised 2019-09-13