"You must understand," she said, "This is the future of the mind. It's preventive medicine for the brain. Why in heaven's name has it taken so long for this information to become available and thank goodness you've done it. It's brilliant."
I was sitting in the Palm Court
room of the luxurious Langham Hilton in London. Across the street was the
BBC building, where I had just spent most of the day being interviewed.
My hostess was Erin Pizzey of Saga Magazine, England's most prestigious
periodical for people over fifty. I felt emblazoned by her outpouring of
admiration for my new book, Brain Longevity, The Breakthrough Medical Program
that Improves Your Mind and Memory (Warner Books US, Random House UK).
It was clear to her that this book, co-written with noted science writer
Cameron Stauth, was monumental. As we sat back in the over-sized chairs,
while they served us peppermint tea, she looked at me and said, "This is
your mission, isn't it? Isn't it your life's work?"
"Yes, it is true." I answered "It
is my mission to make this work available to health care practitioners
so they can in turn help their patients prevent and reverse memory loss."
Beyond that, we can show people how to develop and maintain high levels
of brain power at any age or stage of life." "The reason," I continued,
"is that the brain is after all just flesh and blood."
This fact has been ignored by neurological
researchers for years, as they struggled to find the one "magic bullet"
that would reverse Alzheimer's disease. Now, recent studies showing a positive
correlation between vitamin E and slowing of cognitive decline in patients
with moderate Alzheimer's, has many researchers saying that enhancing overall
brain health may be one of the key factors in maintaining optimal levels
of brain function as we age.
It makes sense that a brain longevity
lifestyle program would be effective because it nurtures the brain on every
level. Lifestyle modification has already proven to be effective in helping
patients suffering from the three greatest killers of people in the world;
heart disease, cancer and strokes. As Erin and I discussed the program,
it was she who put the tremendous social implications of Brain Longevity
into perspective. She felt it was critically important to get this information
out so we can avoid the potential holocaust of brain degeneration in staggering
numbers as we age as a world- wide society. "You know," she told me, "I've
read that because Alzheimer's Disease is a disease of age (with nearly
fifty percent of people developing it at age eighty-five) if we can slow
the incidence of it by five years, we can virtually cut it in half." And
she went on, "If we can slow it by ten years, we can literally bring an
end to this scourge. We will simply out live it, and we have got to do
"It is also imperative to help people
with age associated memory loss," I explained, " because fifteen percent
of people with what used to be thought of as a benign disorder progress
to real dementia. If we can do this, perhaps we can limit the cognitive
decline associated with aging. Instead of entering a spiral of degeneration
with every passing year, we can enter into a cycle of regeneration, imparting
wisdom to the generations that follow.
The Brain Longevity Program consists
of four pillars.
1) The first pillar is nutritional modification, including
a fifteen to twenty percent fat diet and special supplements. Many times
I am asked if someone on a Brain Longevity Program has to be a vegetarian.
The answer is no. They simply have to move away from what used to be called
a high fat American diet, rich in high cholesterol foods such as meat and
eggs. Adding breast of chicken, fish and non-animal protein products such
as tofu is helpful. Certain fish is especially good for the brain. These
fish includes salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, and sardines. As far as supplementation
is concerned, the most important are B complex vitamins for energy, 50
mg a day vitamin E, 400-800 IU a day for anti-oxidant action, Co-enzyme
Q-10,100 mg a day, for its neuro-protective effects, the herb Gingko Biloba,
120 mg a day to increase blood flow to the brain, and a relatively new
brain-specific compound with the imposing scientific name of PhosphatidylSerine.
I tell my patients to simply remember it as PS, like that old Beatles song,
P.S., I Love You. PS, in doses of 200-300 mg a day, is the subject of many
studies around the world, showing that it improves attention, concentration,
short term memory and imparts a protective effect against stress chemicals.
This is critically important and leads to the second aspect of the Brain