Alzheimer Q & A with Prof. Garth Nicolson

Alzheimer’s Q & A with Prof. Garth Nicolson Department of Molecular Pathology, The Institute for Molecular Medicine, Huntington Beach, CA

Q. What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Professor Nicolson:

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, thinking and other brain functions. Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging, but results from a complex pattern of abnormal changes in nerve cells in the brain.

Q. What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Professor Nicolson:

The earliest symptom of Alzheimer’s Disease is often difficulty in remembering newly learned information, but as the disease progresses there are increasing numbers and severity of signs and symptoms.  This can include: disorientation, mood and behavior changes, increasing confusion about specific events, their time and place, unfounded suspicions about family, friends and coworkers, and other changes.

According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Association the Ten Most Common Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease are:

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. This starts as mentioned above with forgetting recently learned information, but this also includes forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over, relying on memory aids, such as family members, notes, etc.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. This occurs when people experience changes in their abilities to develop and follow a plan.  They may also have problems with numbers, familiar tasks, such as paying bills,  and requiring much longer periods of time to accomplish things that they routinely accomplished.

3. Difficulties in completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure. Alzheimer’s patients have difficulty in completing familiar daily tasks.  For example, they may have trouble driving to familiar location, managing a budget or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

4. Increased confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s often lose track of dates, seasons, and passage of time.  They may also have trouble understanding something that is not immediate.

5. Problems understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s in some patients.  They may also have difficulty in reading, judging distance or determining color or contrast.  They may perceive that someone is near that is not present, or they may not realize that they are the person who’s image they see in a mirror.

6. Development of new problems with speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble joining or following a conversation.   Or they may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves.  They struggle with vocabulary and finding the right word, or they call things by the wrong name.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Alzheimer’s patients may experience an inability to find commonly used things. They can also forget where they are or how they got there.

8. Decreased or increasing poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making.  They may use poor judgment in dealing with money, or they may pay less attention to personal grooming and keeping themselves clean.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. Alzheimer’s patients may remove themselves or show decreasing interest in former hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.

10. Changes in personality. The mood or personality of an Alzheimer’s patient can change over time.  They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.  They may also be easily upset at home, work or with friends or at places where they do not feel comfortable.

Q. Are there different stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Professor Nicolson:

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease that gradually worsens over time, which means that it can have different stages.  In its early stage, the symptoms of Alzhimer’s, such as difficulty learning and remembering new information, are mild, but at later or severe stages individuals are extremely confused and lose the ability to carry on even simple conversations and reasoning; eventually they essentially lose all responsiveness to their environment.

Q. Is there a genetic basis for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Professor Nicolson:

Almost all cases of Alzheimer’s are sporadic, which means that they are not genetically inherited.  However, some of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s have been identified as certain genes, for example, that are involved in encoding the amyloid protein or its production in nerve cells.

Q. Are there treatments for Alzheimer’s symptoms?

Professor Nicolson:

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, there are a number of treatments that can temporarily slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.  Examples are treatments that remove heavy metals, drugs that enhance, interfere with or mimic certain chemical messengers that act between nerve cells, anti-infectives that treat brain viral and bacterial infections, and behavioral interventions.

Q. Is there anything that can be taken orally to repair the membrane damage that has already been done to people with a neurodegenerative disease?

Professor Nicolson:

In neurodegenerative diseases patients sustain cellular damage to their nervous systems because of excess oxidative damage (similar to the rust that can form on certain metals).  This damages cellular membranes and the organelles inside cells (mitochondria) that function as our cellular batteries, providing the energy necessary for life.  Once our mitochondria have been damaged, they lose function and cannot provide the high-energy molecules necessary for daily activities.

There are natural dietary supplements that can prevent or even reverse the cellular damaged caused by excess oxidation.  One that I highly recommend is NT Factor.  This all-natural supplement provides replacement components of our membrane lipids that are damaged by excess oxidation.  Cell membranes, and in particular mitochondrial membranes, are very sensitive to oxidative damage, but they can be slowly repaired with NT Factor taken daily.  Scientific studies have shown that patients who take NT Factor can repair their mitochondrial membranes within a few weeks and return mitochondrial function to normal.

Lipid Replacement Therapy with NT Factor is an effective way to reduce chronic fatigue associated with neurodegenerative diseases and also to reduce the effects of excess oxidative damage to the membranes in our nerves and other cells.