Is it Alzheimer's disease or something else?
Deficiencies and conditions that can mimic Alzheimer's Disease
Simple vitamin deficiencies can cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer's Disease. Below are nutritional deficiencies and conditions that can mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease, and should be checked for anyone showing signs of dementia:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency - which causes short-term memory loss, sometimes accompanied by fatigue, low-back pain, sore tongue or burning feet. Blood tests may be normal, even though a person has pernicious anemia, or B12 deficiency
- Vitamin B1 deficiency can result in memory problems and mental disturbances. Diuretics (water pills) can cause B1 deficiencies.
- Low folic acid (vitamin B9) levels are associated with declining mood.
- A stroke can mimic Alzheimer's disease.
- Parkinson's is a disorder that features resting tremor, slowed movement, and gait disorder, and sometimes first manifests as amnesia.
- Thyroid disorder is also a condition that can cause brain dysfunction.
Medication reactions can cause memory loss
Researchers have found that for the 18% of those over 65 who report memory problems, there is a clear connection between taking certain prescription medications and weakness in memory, attention, concentration and ability to process information.
The researchers reviewed placebo-controlled, double-blind trials of adults without CNS disorders who had neurological testing before and after receiving drugs being tested. They also assessed the quality of the studies themselves and pulled out information related to cognitive defects induced by each group of drugs. They determined that these prescription medication groups led to memory, concentration problems and other cognitive defects:
- Benzodiazepines, used to treat anxiety and insomnia led to weaknesses in concentration and memory. These include Midazolam, Trazolam, Temazepam, Oxazepam, Lorazepam, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Diazepam, Florazepam, Clorazepam, Zolpidem, Zopiclone and Zaleplon
- Antihistamines, used for allergies, gave rise to problems in attention and processing information. These include Hydroxyline, Diphenhydramine, Tripoline, and Promethazine.
- Tricyclic antidepressants also gave rise to problems attention and processing information. These include Amitriptyline and Imipramine.
Reference: Cara Tannenbaum, Amelie Paquette, Sarah Hilmer, Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, Ryan Carnahan, A Systematic Review of Amnestic and Non-Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Induced by Anticholinergic, Antihistamine, GABAergic and Opioid Drugs. Drugs & Aging, 2012; 29 (8): 639
Studies Showing Supplements May Help Alzheimer's Disease
Controlling oxidative stress (free radical damage) is a pivotal factor
for chronic degenerative diseases of the eye and brain. Current
science suggests that neurotoxic peptide amyloid-beta (Abeta) can
accumulate in the brain and vascular system of those who inherit
a specific set of genes. Amyloid-beta contributes to
increased oxidative damage by inducing lipid peroxidation, which in
turn generates additional free radicals and dangerous reactive oxygen
species (ROS). This vicious chain of events is suggested to increase
the risk of developing both macular degeneration and Alzheimer's
disease. The prestigious journal, Brain Research, recently published
a piece on the synergistic protection of folate, vitamin E, and
acetyl-L-carnitine against oxidative stress resulting from exposure of
human neuroblastoma cells to amyloid-beta proteins.
Supplementing with CoQ10, lipoic acid and grape seed extract may help as well as they help ameliorate neurotoxicity in the brain, according to a recent study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science. Other nutrients such as acetyl-l-carnitine, glutamine and Ashwaganda can help healthy brain function.