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Cognoscopy: What Is It and Can It Prevent Alzheimer’s?

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Introduction

An estimated 75 million Americans are predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease starts to develop 20 years before presenting symptoms, so it’s essential to take preventative steps during this window of opportunity. And Cognoscopy may be one of them.

To do this, you need to be aware of risk factors that make you prone to Alzheimer’s. This is possible through a procedure developed by Dr. Dale Bredesen known as a cognoscopy. Cognoscopy testing provides hope that, in time, Alzheimer’s may be preventable.

What Is a Cognoscopy?

A cognoscopy is an assessment consisting of a series of screening tests that identify cognitive decline risk factors. Screening tests include laboratory and cognitive tests, an evaluation of a patient’s medical history, and an M.R.I. The data from these tests are then used to formulate a care plan minimizing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Dale Bredesen has researched Alzheimer’s for several years. After reviewing his studies’ outcomes, he concluded that there are 36 identifiable causes of the disease. A cognoscopy enables you to know which of the 36 risk factors you have. Causes include metabolic derangement, poor nutrient status, and viruses, among others.  

It is essential to address these causes holistically to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s. Early diagnosis is vital to have optimal outcomes for patients. 

Below is a more detailed description of what a cognoscopy entails, as well as the steps you can take to manage identified risk factors.

1. Blood Tests

TESTING FOR METABOLIC BALANCE AND INFLAMMATION

A metabolic imbalance in the body can lead to inflammation, oxidative stress, and brain cell damage. These are some of the leading causes of dementia. Aside from metabolic imbalances, inflammation within the body can occur secondary to an infection, certain foods, and other reasons.

An example of this is high blood glucose levels. This results in the formation of specific end products that can lead to inflammation and damage to the brain.

What is the cost?

Lab Panel for Testing Glucose, Lipids, and Inflammation may set you back at $239.

What is the solution?

Depending on the imbalance, there may be underlying conditions that need appropriate management. As an example, if the person has elevated glucose levels, they may have diabetes. You can manage such a condition by making lifestyle adjustments and using appropriate medication.

Lifestyle modifications may include dietary changes, exercising, or taking certain supplements.  Changing your diet to include food items that fight dementia are also essential to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress.

TESTING FOR HORMONAL BALANCE (SEX AND ADRENAL HORMONES)

As you age, there will be a decrease in certain hormones, some of which play a vital role in preventing dementia. This occurs due to specific systems in your body that slow down.

Two examples of these hormones are estrogen and testosterone. Females with low levels of estrogen have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Testosterone, which is present in both males and females, supports the survival of brain cells. 

What is the cost?

Hormone Lab Panel can cost you around $449.

What is the solution?

Hormone replacement therapy, as well as lifestyle interventions, may be recommended.

TESTING FOR TOXICITY

Another potential cause for Alzheimer’s is the presence of certain toxic substances. Exposure to environmental toxins includes heavy metals, chemicals, bio-toxins, and chronic infections. 

What is the cost? 

Hair and toxic element exposure profile – $198.00

Gut Function/Leaky Gut – $259.00

An imbalance in your gut flora can result in inflammation. 

What is the solution?

The exposure risk needs to be identified and eliminated. 

TESTING FOR NUTRITIONAL ADEQUACY 

Many vitamins and minerals function as antioxidants, decrease inflammation, prevent the synaptic loss, and are essential to prevent cognitive decline. It is vital to ensure that the levels of vitamins and minerals known to play a crucial role in brain health are within normal ranges. Other levels in this panel are markers for nutrient deficiencies. 

What is the cost? 

Nutrient Profile Lab Panel – $499.00

Additional Vitamin and Mineral Panel – $399.00 

What is the solution? 

Your diet should be assessed and adjusted based on the levels found in this panel. For instance, if you have low zinc levels, you would increase the number of zinc-containing foods in your diet or take supplements. 

TESTING FOR GENETIC RISK 

Certain types of dementia may have a genetic component that increases your risk. For this reason, your personal and family history together with genetic testing is required.  

The general population has a 9% risk of developing Alzheimer’s during their lifetime. In terms of genetics, the presence of the ApoE4 gene predisposes you to inflammation. Some people may have one or two copies of this gene. If a single ApoE4 gene is present, you have a 30% chance. But if you have two copies of this gene, the risk increases to above 50%. 

What is the cost?

APOE Alzheimer’s Risk Panel – $295.00

What is the solution? 

There is no remedy to the presence of genetic biomarkers that predispose patients to Alzheimer’s. The only real solution is to take all the necessary steps to decrease any potential risk for Alzheimer’s and improve cognitive functioning.

2. Cognitive Function Testing 

This gives a baseline of your cognitive function and allows those monitoring you to see a decline in function. An example of such a questionnaire is the Montreal Cognitive Assessment

3. Medical History

You will need to detail your complete history of medical conditions and list down all your current medications.

4. M.R.I.

If you were to score low on a cognitive exam, it is advisable to go for an M.R.I. to assess potential causes. There are numerous reasons for the deterioration in brain function aside from Alzheimer’s.

Getting an M.R.I. in the U.S. would cost you between $1,600 and $8,400. The price may depend on the facility, the machine’s worth, and the cost of the contrast used. 

Can a Cognoscopy Prevent Alzheimer’s?

cognoscopy

A cognoscopy is a comprehensive set of tests that enable us to identify causes and risk factors present for Alzheimer’s. By implementing steps to decrease risks and manage potential causes, we can improve symptoms and slow the disease’s progression. However, there are still no actual means documented to prevent Alzheimer’s.

How Much Does a Cognoscopy Cost?

The average cost of a Cognoscopy is between $2,500 and $11,000. The price depends on where it is done, the laboratory panels tested, the cognitive function test performed, and whether an M.R.I. is included. You can minimize your expenses by being selective in which tests you’ll take.

“Early diagnosis is so important because the earlier a mental illness can be detected, diagnosed and treatment can begin, the better off that person can be for the rest of his or her life.”

Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States

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Top 3 Points

1. A cognoscopy involves a series of tests that helps identify cognitive decline risk factors.

2. The average cost of a cognoscopy is between $2,500 and $11,000.

3. There are still no actual means to prevent Alzheimer’s, but it is vital to detect early signs so you can take appropriate steps.

Conclusion

Doctors may advise their patients to take several medical tests to ensure the early detection of certain diseases. However, we often forget about the brain and the potential for deterioration.

A cognoscopy allows us to identify risks and manage them. Although it is promoted as a measure for early prevention, it is still of value when taken in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, especially for seniors in Memory Care. Although there is no cure for the disease, you can still take steps to prevent its progression.

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