Episode #21: Can I Really Reverse my Alzheimer’s and Cognition Problems? with Robert Hedaya MD
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Robert Hedaya, MD, has been at the cutting edge of medical practice, psychiatry and psychopharmacology since 1979, and has been practicing Functional Medicine since 1996. He is also a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center. Author of three books (Understanding Biological Psychiatry, The Antidepressant Survival Guide, and Depression: Advancing the Treatment Paradigm), and the founder of the National Center for Whole Psychiatry in the Washington DC area. He has been on national media (20/20, 60 minutes, the New York Times, Washington Post etc.) on many occasions and is a frequent, nationally and internationally recognized speaker.
In this Episode You Will Learn:
This is a great episode to get the low-down on just who’s, what’s, and how’s of Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Impairment programs. We discuss over-hyped and over sensationalized results you may be hearing about in the news and the internet and what you can really expect when you embark on a “reversal” program. Dr Hedaya has seen success applying a Bredesen-style approach to: Subjective Cognitive Impairment, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and early stages of Alzheimer’s.
Dr Hedaya explains the difference in his approach to traditional psychological conditions, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s. Bob recounts a recent encounter he had at an academic conference where he challenged the current paradigm. We talk about how this approach is generally received by the medical community —because (like Semmelweis) it is often unfamiliar,uncomfortable, and inconvenient for the medical establishment in its current iteration.
We discuss our feelings about the realistic applications and limitations of applying “Alzheimer’s reversal” programs. We cover who might be the best candidate to succeed on these programs.
Bob explains his understanding of the systems biology approach of Functional Medicine and how it applies to his work in cognitive impairment and mood disorders.
30-50% of people with depression with develop Cognitive impairment.
We discuss the personal commitments in terms of time and energy someone has to make to become succeed with this kind of program and Dr Hedaya outlines his the first case he handled where someone with cognitive impairment improved.
Dr Hedaya’s basic panel to help with determine risk:
- Complete Blood Count
- Fasting Cholesterol Panel
- Fasting insulin (goal ~3-4)
- Avoid head trauma
- Check thyroid function (goal TSH ~1.4) as well as checking free T3 free T4
- Estrogen and progesterone (in some women)
- Zinc (RBC) and Copper (16:1)
- Inflammatory markers like high sensitivity CRP
Overall he recommends a Mediterranean style diet as the best diet in general.
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