Do you have a loved one suffering from dementia? Are you worried about your own cognitive health as you age? If so, this episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast is for you!
Our guest, Dr. Heather Sandison, the founder of Solcere Health Clinic, and Marama, the first residential care facility for the elderly of its kind, and a leading expert in the field of integrative medicine, shares her insights on how to protect your brain and prevent or reverse dementia.
In this episode you will learn:
The role that hormones play in brain health
The benefits of lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, for cognitive health
The genetic determinism of Alzheimer's disease and what you can do to mitigate your risk
The tests and treatments available to prevent and treat dementia
The complex system science approach versus the reduction approach to brain health
And much more!
If you are interested in learning more about how to protect your brain and prevent or reverse dementia, this episode is a must-listen!
(00:00): Do you think that dementia is a done deal and that once you get it, you'll always have it. Well, you need to listen up because that's actually a lie.
(00:12): So the big question is how do women over 40, like us, keep weight off, have great energy balance. Our hormones in our moods feel sexy and confident and master midlife. If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself. Again. As an OB GYN, I had to discover for myself the truth about what creates a rock, solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy. After 40 in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue. Now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results. And to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges, join me for tangible natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston welcome to the hormone prescription podcast.
(01:05): Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the hormone prescription with Dr. Kyrin. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you believe that dementia is a done deal in that, once you have it, you will always have it. It will progress and get worse. Then you need to listen up because that is just not true anymore. The truth is that you can prevent and reverse cognitive decline and Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. When you take a root cause all systems approach. And my guest today is an expert on this. She is going to break it down for you. She's also hosting a wonderful summit that is coming up on Alzheimer's and cognitive functioning and dementia and how to prevent and reverse it. So I definitely want you to attend that. We'll have the link in the show notes, because this is for everyone.
(02:00): You know, don't hear this title and think, oh, uh, my brain is fine, right? It takes decades to develop cognitive decline and dementia. And so if you have a brain, and you're a human, and you're getting older, which is just about every one of us, then you need to listen up, cuz you need to be doing things, taking steps to protect your precious brain, your mainframe computer. Now. So we'll dive into talking to Heather. She gave a masterclass today about all the things that you need to be doing for your brain. Don't be overwhelmed though, because in her summit she's going to go into with experts like me, way more detail. And of course I'm the hormone expert and hormones. You definitely need a prescription for hormones. If you want to protect your brain, you cannot have optimized brain function without it. So we'll dive into that, but I'll tell you a little bit about Dr.
(02:56): Heather and we'll get started. She's really rather remarkable. Dr. Heather Sandison is the founder of SOCE health clinic and MIMA the first residential care facility for the elderly of its kind at SOCE Dr. Sandison and her team of doctors and health coaches focused primarily on supporting patients, looking to optimize cognitive function, prevent mental decline and reverse dementia by addressing root causes of imbalance in the brain and body. This is something all of you should be doing. She was awarded a grant to study an individualized integrative approach to reversing dementia and is a primary investigator on the it H N C L R clinical trial at Marama. Dr. Sandison has created an immersive residential experience in the lifestyle proven to best support brain health. She understands that changing her diet, adding nutrients, creating community and optimizing a healing environment are all challenging. Even for those with full cognitive capacity at Marama, she's done the work for you, all you or your loved one need to do is show up. She is also the host of the reverse Alzheimer's summit and collective insights podcast, where she works to share what is possible for those suffering with dementia. Welcome Dr. Heather Sandison.
(04:23): Thanks. It's so exciting to be here with you.
(04:25): Yeah, I am so excited about your summit coming up. Many of my listeners know that my mom suffers with advanced Alzheimer's and I really I'm so passionate about helping others to know how to prevent and reverse cognitive decline. Cuz personally, I think it is the most devastating disease someone could be diagnosed with. How did you come to be so passionate about preserving cognitive capacity and preventing and reversing Alzheimer's?
(04:59): Well, as you know, it's an absolutely torturous disease, not only for the person experiencing it, but for all of their loved ones who have to watch this slow painful demise. And the reason I became so passionate was because there's a bit of injustice in this, right? I was told that there was nothing you could do for dementia by very well meaning very well educated instructors when I was in school just 10, 12 years ago, right? Like this is very recent history I was told. There's nothing you could do to suggest otherwise is to give someone false hope and that's just cruel. Right? So don't do that. And then fast forward a few years I saw Dr. Bison speak at a conference and I was really intrigued because his approach, he was saying, you could reverse dementia. You could reverse cognitive decline. And his approach made a lot of common sense.
(05:54): It just wasn't common practice to kind of put all of functional medicine together and apply it to someone with dementia. So what he was describing was BA essentially complex system science approach, the opposite of the reductionistic approach that conventional medicine has been taking for decades, where they try to create one pill or one IV formula that's gonna cure Alzheimer's right. And then everybody's gonna get on it and nobody's gonna have it again. Well, this is really a false premise. It doesn't work because it's based on this idea that beta amyloid plaques or tell proteins these pathological or, or histological really physiological changes. They're almost like scar tissue in the brain that they are the ones that cause dementia or, or Alzheimer's when in fact it's what causes that scar tissue is what causes dementia. And so what I saw after seeing Dr Bison speak was that I was intrigued, right.
(06:55): I, I was skeptical, but I was curious. And so like when I had and did his training, I came back to my office still skeptical, but my first patient Linda came into my office after I was on Dr. Bison's website. Right. I was on the list of people who had been trained by him. And so I had patients showing up asking, uh, because there weren't other people in San Diego who had been trained by him at that point. And so Linda came in with her husband, very enthusiastic, totally committed to doing everything she could. Now for your listeners who aren't familiar with a mocha score, this is the Montreal cognitive assessment. And it's a score out of 30. So 30 is perfect. We really wanna get over 26, especially as we're aging. And when we start to be able to measure cognitive decline. So this can be sometimes you hear this called mild cognitive impairment.
(07:46): And I won't go on the tangent about how I feel about that use of language <laugh>. But as you get down into the teens, lower teens, this is Alzheimer's disease. This is relatively severe dementia, where you're having trouble taking, having a conversation. Maybe you get lost in familiar places. You aren't nonverbal. Like you can still have a conversation, but often you're repeating yourself. Unable to work is very typical at this stage. Now, by the time you get to a two, a three, a four, this person is, is answering with yes or no statements, right? They're they can't hold complex concepts in their mind. They can't hold questions for very long. And this is where Linda was. Linda was at a two out of 30. So she could answer with yes or no. Her handwriting had been affected. So it was a bit shaky. It was at a very severe slant.
(08:35): It was very, very small letters. Her relationship with her husband of course, was severely affected. They couldn't hold a conversation and he loved her so much. I mean, it was so inspiring to watch how committed he was to her and how much he wanted to work hard to get her back. And I could see in Linda, she had this big, bright smile, and she was in there. She wore these loud, amazing clothes, you know, lots of mismatch and lots of color and hats and accessories. It was just great. And you could see who she had been and these little remnants personality that were peaking through. Well, her and her husband went home and they got out of a moldy bedroom. She got hers removed from her mouth. She got on biodentical hormones. She started all of the supplements. They went fully keto. They started ballroom dancing three to four times a week.
(09:28): And they started walking like vigorous walking exercise every day of the week and low and behold, six, seven weeks later, she came back and her mocha was a seven. Her life had been transformed. So she was now bickering with her husband about something that had happened on the ride to the clinic, which I was just like in disbelief. I could, I thought, you know, I was looking at her mocha scores, her worksheets and going, did we do it wrong? Like, did we miss anything? Like I just, my brain couldn't process that this was possible because I had been told the old refrain that people are still told that, that you couldn't do this. That this was impossible that I started crying because I was like, wait, what? This really works. And especially, I didn't have the confidence that it would work with someone with such severe disease.
(10:18): So when I saw in that moment, when I saw what was possible for Linda, I mean, how could anyone not commit themselves to this for the rest of their lives, right? Like this is possible for Linda. Then what's possible for everyone else who is younger. Who's just noticing those first signs that their brain isn't working the way it used to 10 or five years ago. What's possible for people who know their genetic risk, if they can prevent it from ever even starting. We know that dementia, the changes in the brain, the inflammation, the toxic assaults, the, the infections, the imbalances that cause dementia, the trigger that scar tissue formation, those imbalances start decades before anyone notices changes in their cognitive function, in their memory. And so if we can intervene sooner, we can make Alzheimer's optional. People do not have to go down the torturous path that your mom has.
(11:19): You could be scared. Your children could be spar. The torture of having to watch that of having to put someone in a home because they don't feel like they have the capacity to both raise their own children, work their full-time job, manage their house and care for the, their debilitated loved one with dementia. My life's purpose is changing the narrative around this, which is why I was so grateful that you joined me on the reverse Alzheimer's summit to help me in this crusade around telling people that I'm sorry, respectfully. I disagree with your neurologist who told you here's acept and Meda. It doesn't work very well. Get your affairs in order. There's nothing else that can be done. There's actually an overwhelming amount that can be done to support someone who's noticing their memory fading.
(12:07): Oh my gosh. She said so much in there. And when you told Linda's story and how she and her husband just went and made radical changes in seven weeks had marked improvement. I cried because it's just such demonstrative of what is possible when people really take this seriously and they do all the things and they radically reevaluate and change their lifestyle. What is possible? It's sad to me that it requires us to have such pain in order to do it. We have to go so far that people aren't willing to do it, but I love that they did it. Oh my gosh. You've said so many things. <laugh> all right. So let's dive into this, but I, I think this idea of complex systems science approach versus reduction approach really is the whole shift in paradigm in medicine that is about antiaging, metabolic, functional medicine.
(13:06): It is the healthcare revolution. It is the next frontier. There's so many areas where we take this reductionist approach. Like it's just a disease, it's just symptom management and you have to deal with it and you have to control it, particularly not only with dementia. I think dementia is where this shows up as just this hopeless attitude of, oh, this is it. Get your affairs in order here, take these medicines. They don't really help. So let's dive a little into all the things that you've got to do, but I wanna start by talking, you mentioned genetic risk and I know people have heard there's Alzheimer's gene. They can't, most people readily access this, or maybe they can maybe, you know, of a place that people can get this, unless their doctor orders it. Can you talk a little bit about the genetics? What is the genetic determinism level with Alzheimer's and what's available? Mm-hmm
(14:04): <affirmative> yeah, there's a lot of agency here, right? Like, so even if you have the worst genetics, there's still a chance that you'll be in the camp that doesn't get dementia. Right. So there it's much more about epigenetics than it is about genetics. Right? So that, that, the way I describe it to patients is it's as if an architect has written the, has drawn the plans for a house and that's your genetic, so that's the plan. And then where you build that house, if it's by the beach, or if it's up in the mountains or it's in the desert, if there's carpet or tile, or, you know, if it's facing east or west, if there's a happy family or a sad family in it, right? Like all of these epigenetic effects determine what that house ends up looking like. And, and if it's a great house to live in or not, and that's essentially your body, right?
(14:50): So there's this genetic plan. And then there's the phenotype or what actually gets expressed, which is the actual house that gets built. Right? And so what we put into that house, wha