Life Extension Magazine March 2004
Life Extension for the Brain
By Bruce Scali
Medications and Hormones
As noted earlier concerning depression medications addressing occipital lobe serotonin deficiencies, potent prescription medications are available to address parietal lobe acetylcholine deficits.32-34 These include Aricept® and Exelon®, among others. Regardless of which is prescribed, indications and side effects should be fully explained to the patient or caregiver.
Hormones, too, can be grouped into families associated with brain regions and functions. For example, testosterone, while commonly associated with sex drive, belongs to the frontal lobe/energy group. Hormones associated with the memory function include human growth hormone, vasopressin, DHEA, and pregnenolone. Hormone assessment and balancing should be included in a treatment plan for severe memory impairment.
Dollars and Sense
Early testing and treatment result in a short-term increase in health care expenditures, but the long-term benefits in both dollars saved and human suffering averted are many times more significant. In 1997, 90% of the 2.3 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were over 60 years of age. In the US alone, treatment of Alzheimer’s costs $100 billion a year. Yet this immense figure spent on Alzheimer’s care may come to seem small when the majority of baby boomers turns 65.36 Coupled with the positive economic impact that a larger number of productive older people can have, the financial ramifications of early treatment of memory decline are irrefutable.
And the value of having loved ones remaining vital and connected to us longer is in itself incalculable.
The author gratefully acknowledges Eric Braverman, MD, and his PATH Medical Group for contributing research material and quotes used in this article. Dr. Braverman’s new book, The Edge Effect: How the Balanced Brain Can Give You an Advantage in Life, will be available from Sterling Publishers this spring.
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