Participants: Don Miller, Agatha Thrash
Series Code: HYTH
Program Code: HYTH000139
00:01 Hello, I'm Agatha Thrash a staff physician from
00:04 Uchee Pines Institute.
00:05 This institute is a place where we teach people how to do
00:11 medical missionary work, and health education.
00:13 As such we deal with people who are aging quite a lot,
00:17 sometimes we have people who have Alzheimer's Disease.
00:19 I suppose that part of the body that we hate to see aging
00:24 the most is the nervous system, because that brings with it
00:27 a lot of loss of function, and for the next half an hour
00:31 we will be talking about aging of the mind,
00:34 maybe you would like to join us.
00:55 Welcome to Help Yourself To Health
00:58 with Dr. Agatha Thrash of Uchee Pines Institute,
01:01 and now here is your host Dr. Thrash.
01:04 Aging comes to the body at a different rate for many of
01:11 the organs.
01:12 Our first organ to begin to age is the thymus gland,
01:17 it is located in the chest, and even before we are born
01:20 it is beginning to involute, or to age, and then we age
01:25 the other organs at different rates, of the spleen,
01:28 the liver, the pancreas, muscles, bones, joints,
01:33 and we hope that the nervous system will be the very last
01:37 that will age.
01:38 We want to see this slow progression,
01:41 in fact the ideal would be that we would never loose
01:44 function even though we do age.
01:47 Aging should not be a time when we expect ill health,
01:50 aging and ill health should not be synonymous.
01:54 we should recognize that during the aging process we can keep
01:59 ourselves quite healthy by strict obedience to the
02:03 eight natural laws of health.
02:04 In fact one of the great reasons to institute these laws,
02:07 in childhood is that that you can preserve the youthful
02:12 functioning's of the various parts of the body into
02:16 advanced old age.
02:17 As Americans we often loose our functions one point at a time,
02:23 we loose our teeth, we loose our vision, we loose the
02:27 elasticity of the skin.
02:29 Then we loose our muscle tone, we began to loose our bone,
02:33 so little by little, then we may loose a little part of the
02:37 heart, or we may loose a little part of the intestinal tract.
02:40 Little by little we loose our organs until finally we get so
02:45 that we can't walk, we don't sleep well, we can't eat
02:48 a lot of things, and we're essentially becoming aged.
02:54 Aged because of the loss of various functions, one step
02:58 at a time.
02:59 Now as we come to think about what is memory loss,
03:03 or the loss of the nervous system, not all of memory loss
03:09 is Alzheimer's Disease.
03:11 Although we may jokingly say when we forget something
03:15 that my Alzheimer's is working up today.
03:17 We should not say that because it may not be that we have
03:22 special forgetfulness at all.
03:25 In the age of 20 or 30, we may have as much forgetfulness
03:31 as we have at 50 or 60, or 70, but because at 60 and 70
03:36 we think that the person should be beginning to show signs
03:41 of Alzheimer's, any forgetfulness at all,
03:44 or any lack of planning or loss of memory of how to do
03:51 some function, we began to be worried, and we begin
03:54 to think, is this Alzheimer's?
03:56 Now if a person has a serious loss of memory, then we should
04:01 not just immediately label it Alzheimer's but look for
04:04 some other cause which may be treatable.
04:07 A treatable cause not recognized may cause the person to get
04:13 to a position where they are really crippled with the
04:16 mental functions, and of course at that point
04:19 they then have a serious difficulty in returning to
04:24 a place o functioning.
04:25 Let's talk about one of the commonest causes of the loss
04:29 of mental functioning and that's atherosclerosis,
04:32 or hardening of the arteries.
04:34 We have two carotid arteries that are the principle sources
04:39 of blood flow to the brain, we also two vertebral arteries
04:45 that go up from the back, but having four arteries altogether
04:50 that supply the brain, and we can get hardening of the
04:53 arteries in any one of those, or in all of those.
04:57 Or we could have a fairly clear carotid artery system
05:01 and the hardening of the arteries can be inside the head
05:05 without a lot of significant artery hardening lower down.
05:10 Even the very tiny blood vessels of the brain can become
05:15 hardened and loose their function, loose their ability
05:19 to carry the blood to the brain and all of these can
05:23 cause deterioration.
05:24 If you have a stethoscope in your home, or if your
05:29 doctor listens to your carotid arteries, the doctor may say
05:33 to you that you have a bruit, it is spelled bruit,
05:38 which means a noise or a sound made by the blood
05:44 as it swishes past some obstruction or partial
05:48 obstruction in your carotid arteries.
05:50 You may also hear this in the aorta, hear this bruit,
05:55 or this noise in the aorta, or in the iliac veins that
05:59 go down through the groin into the legs.
06:03 Wherever we hear a bruit it's always unpleasant for the
06:08 doctor to hear because he knows that inside that artery
06:11 is a cushion or mound causing and eddying of the blood
06:18 as the blood swishes over it, and that is a cause for concern,
06:23 it indicates that the person has hardening of the arteries.
06:26 We need to recognize hardening of the arteries because it
06:30 can be reversed to some degree and by changes
06:33 in lifestyle by very careful attention to one's food,
06:37 one's exercise, even such things as sunning, breathing,
06:41 deeply of fresh air, all of these things may help to
06:45 reduce one's likelihood of getting this hardening
06:48 that causes the closure of the blood vessels going
06:52 up to the head.
06:54 Then another thing is that of trauma, repeated trauma
06:58 to the head, such as might come from competitive sports,
07:01 of course whatever is done there is usually a permanent
07:05 loss and may not be reversible.
07:07 But that at least would not be Alzheimer's and we need
07:11 to recognize that there can be a difference.
07:13 Then there is a theory that partially cooked grains
07:18 may be a real problem for some people.
07:22 We know that grains may start out, let us say this
07:26 size, relatively speaking and as we cook them a little
07:29 bit they become a little softer.
07:32 The outside part of the grain dissolves or cooks or softens
07:38 and becomes a part of the fluid around it, and then
07:43 the grain becomes smaller and smaller, and finally it's
07:47 small enough that it can enter a capillary,
07:49 but not small enough that it can go through the finest
07:53 meshes of the capillary meshwork and there it stops.
07:58 So when it gets into the blood stream through the
08:00 intestinal tract, it flows or travels to a certain
08:05 distance and then stops at that point.
08:08 That means that the blood flow to the tissue beyond that
08:12 is cut off, then the person gets a tiny micro-abscess
08:17 a little sterile abscess there has no germs in it but it is
08:22 in a place where we have lost some tissue,
08:24 and the tissue has died and then be replaced by a scar.
08:28 Now interestingly enough the radiologist tell us that
08:33 after a person passes about the age of 30, they have many
08:37 tiny scars called Lacunar Scars in the brain,
08:42 and these are postulated by some researchers to be
08:46 caused by partly cooked grains.
08:48 So we need to recognize that this may be a thing of prudence
08:51 for us to remember to cook grains well, several hours
08:54 of cooking are required to properly cook grains that
08:58 are used for cereal or mush.
09:00 Such as rice or oatmeal, or corn grits, all of these
09:07 require several hours of cooking before they are
09:09 ready for a person to eat.
09:13 Now stress is another reason for loss of memory,
09:16 some of you may have had the experience of a very
09:19 stressful day, and then you say where are my keys,
09:23 or where is my notebook, or where did I leave my
09:25 pocket PC, and you can't remember where these things are.
09:30 They are lost!
09:32 You may even forget your purse or you billfold,
09:36 something very important and may be just out of place
09:40 because of stress.
09:41 Stress can also have a permanent effect if it is
09:45 serious enough, then a serious loss such as a house
09:49 burning down, or someone in the family dying.
09:54 These things may be stressful enough that it may cause
09:57 some kind of permanent loss of memory, at least for the
10:00 things that surround that period of time,
10:03 any major loss can be associated with that.
10:07 Now there are some physical stresses, metabolic stresses,
10:10 such as come on with over eating, overeating is a
10:13 metabolic stress on the body, it also is a stress
10:18 on the central nervous system, and it is nothing to
10:23 joke about that we overeat.
10:26 When we overeat, we increase the likelihood that we may
10:31 get Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease,
10:34 this is a very important thing for us to recognize.
10:38 So as we consider these things there are many things that
10:43 we can do to make certain that we do not have these
10:46 kinds of problems that reduce the mental functioning
10:49 of the person.
10:50 Now alcoholism and other toxins illicit and licit drugs
10:56 that we may take can also make their toll on the
11:00 central nervous system and make it so that we are
11:02 unlikely to maintain brisk mental functioning right into
11:06 advanced old age.
11:07 A B-12 deficiency, especially for tall blue eyed, fair skinned
11:13 or freckled individuals who have a north European
11:16 extraction, these individuals tend to be more susceptible
11:20 to B-12 deficiency and it may be correctable, at least
11:26 early enough it is correctable so tests should be done,
11:30 the person should be evaluated for that kind of problem.
11:34 Also a Folic Acid deficiency, for the same reasons that
11:39 B-12 causes a problem, and then hypercalcemia,
11:44 that's an increase in calcium, this can cause also deposits
11:50 of calcium in the central nervous system,
11:52 and that can result in a reduced mental functioning.
11:56 Lo thyroid is another very correctable problem that
12:01 a person may have and that can easily be corrected
12:06 and we will want to do so.
12:08 Of course there are serious organ failures that occur
12:12 in people who have serious disease of liver and kidneys
12:17 and these can cause also a loss of mental functioning.
12:22 We need to be able to diagnose some of these problems and
12:27 to help me talk with you about the whole problem of
12:32 mental and emotional problems is Don Miller who is a
12:36 health educator/health counselor at Uchee Pines Institute
12:40 and Don Miller will now talk with you some things about
12:43 the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, Don Miller!
12:46 Thank you Dr. Thrash!
12:47 You know Dr. Thrash just mentioned many things
12:50 that can give Alzheimer's type symptoms, but we have to
12:54 understand that those things alone do not give a diagnosis
12:57 of Alzheimer's, matter of fact it's really hard to diagnose
13:02 One thing by itself cannot be the one, let's say one
13:06 that we always think about is loss of memory.
13:09 I just can't think of any more, we all have losses of memory
13:13 we've been forgetting things all of our lives, and that by
13:16 itself is not a loss of memory.
13:18 Let's take it to a finer tuned thing.
13:21 I am always loosing the keys to my car, but it's when we
13:25 forget that we have a car that we might be a little bit
13:28 more concerned with a memory loss.
13:30 One way, and I think I need to at the same time we are talking
13:35 about some of the things that may be a diagnosis of
13:38 Alzheimer's, I can also mention some things along the way
13:41 that we can protect ourselves from developing these types
13:44 of diseases.
13:46 This is just theory on my part, we need to keep the mind
13:50 strong, and we realize that one thing, that deranges
13:54 the mind, and this is a mind derangement type of illness
13:58 is a disorderly environment.
14:00 We need to keep our environment neat.
14:03 We miss-lay our keys because our place is a wreck,
14:06 we don't have any system to our lives, we need to develop
14:10 a system in our lives where everything,
14:12 a place for everything, and everything in it's place,
14:14 which is the way the saying goes.
14:16 If we do these, we're talking about not so much as one
14:20 messy corner, the trunk of your car can't even be messy
14:24 and as we keep everything arranged, our mind will keep
14:28 from becoming deranged.
14:30 The second one of the diagnosing steps might be, a difficulty
14:36 in performing familiar tasks, things like tying your shoes,
14:40 or winding your watch, or turning on the stove.
14:43 I remember a few years ago being in someone's home
14:45 where the person in the home had gone in to make himself
14:51 a sandwich, but he forgot how to make a sandwich.
14:53 Now it wasn't Alzheimer's in this case, he had just had
14:56 a TIA, and his mind wasn't working well, so we cannot
15:00 misdiagnose by calling on a lot of other things
15:03 that might be causing this particular problem.
15:06 Another one of the warning signs, or diagnostic signs
15:10 of Alzheimer's is a language difficulty,
15:14 I just can't think of that word any more.
15:17 It's no problem not being able to think of that word,
15:20 but when we are constantly not being able to bring up
15:23 that word that we need, a familiar word, that might be
15:26 a little bit of a diagnostic clue, that we might be heading
15:29 down Alzheimer's highway, so look for the person who just
15:33 is always grasping for words.
15:35 Disorientation as regards to time and place.
15:40 Now I travel a lot, and I travel internationally a lot
15:44 and I go through lots of time zones, I remember the last time
15:49 I traveled, I came back from Africa,
15:52 it was the longest day of my life.
15:55 It happened to be my birthday, I left 15 minutes before
15:57 my birthday, got home about five hours before my birthday
16:01 ended, and that was the longest day of my life.
16:04 I remember going to bed that night, waking up in the
16:06 middle of the night, laying there in bed,
16:07 I had no idea where I was, when it was, or even who I was,
16:11 that was because of a disorientation as to time
16:15 and place because of an upset schedule.
16:18 So, what do we do with somebody who might be going down
16:21 Alzheimer's highway, they've got to become regular
16:25 in their schedules, everything on their right time,
16:28 everything on schedules.
16:30 If someone seems to be going down that slope,
16:32 correct the damage right now, you might be able to slow
16:36 it down if not stop it.
16:38 People who show poor or decreased judgment,
16:42 now most of us show poor and decreased judgment
16:46 all the time, but someone who has been consistently
16:48 of a good judgment all of a sudden starts making poor
16:52 judgment choices, that's one of the diagnostic
16:55 tools of Alzheimer's.
16:57 Problems with abstract thinking, another one of the diagnostic
17:03 tools of Alzheimer's.
17:05 Misplacing things, and again that goes along with the memory,
17:09 I sort of put these two together, but we are always
17:12 miss-laying things, we can't find...
17:14 I remember one time I spent a half an hour looking for
17:17 my glasses and I finally found them they were hanging
17:19 on my nose.
17:20 Now I don't have Alzheimer's, I just was really flustered
17:23 that day and I don't understand why I couldn't see them,
17:25 as soon as I looked in the mirror I saw my glasses
17:28 where they were supposed to be, hanging off my nose.
17:30 Those people who are always misplacing things could be
17:34 a diagnostic tool.
17:35 Changes in mood and behavior.
17:38 Now I need to mention as I talk about mood and behavior
17:41 the fact that sometimes we can keep who we really are
17:46 under wraps, and who we really are when we start
17:51 getting into areas of Alzheimer's or dementia,
17:54 or just senility which is probably what we can group
17:57 them all as in some form, the real you comes out.
18:02 I remember my great-grandmother 1969, she was lying in bed
18:07 at home, she was in her upper 90's.
18:09 She was the most beautiful woman in life, and there she was
18:13 laying in her bed, and I went in to see her, and she said
18:17 oh Donny, get my purse, I've got a million dollars
18:21 in there for you.
18:22 That was my grandmother, that's the way she was,
18:25 she never had anything to give me really, except for her love.
18:28 But she wanted to give me everything that she had,
18:31 and that's who she was, and as we get into these areas
18:34 where we start to loose that mental control over
18:38 who we are, we become who we really are.
18:40 I like that saying, you may not be who you think you are,
18:43 but what you think, you are.
18:45 So allow the Lord to change that character now, so that
18:49 when the day comes, and it may come for some of us,
18:51 that we start loosing that physical control,
18:54 that mental control over who we are, what we then are
18:58 is a pretty nice person still.
19:00 I remember walking though a nursing home years ago
19:03 in Oklahoma where I was going to graduate school
19:07 and the lady... she used to invite me home for lunch
19:11 every day, now this lady was 89 years old.
19:13 Every Sabbath she invited me home for lunch,
19:15 and she would spread the table...
19:17 I've always been thin, they are always trying
19:18 to fatten me up, it's great to be thin,
19:20 and we would walk in there feed me all this food,
19:22 then we would go to the nursing home where she
19:24 took care of people.
19:25 I remember walking down the highway and there was this
19:28 lady over there in one of these rooms, rocking in her
19:31 rocking chair, with one steady stream of profanity
19:35 coming out of her mouth.
19:36 It was frightening, maybe that's who she really was,
19:39 I don't know but one of these personality and judgment
19:43 things when they start to change, it could be one of
19:45 the signs of Alzheimer's.
19:48 Changes in personality, and loss of imitative,
19:52 you just no longer want to do anything.
19:55 A person who used to love just to play the piano,
19:59 they no longer have an interest in playing the piano any more,
20:02 all of these things are diagnostic clues that you
20:07 might be going down Alzheimer's highway.
20:09 Going back to this recognition and memory thing,
20:12 it's when we can see the person, or see the thing
20:16 and we still can't remember who it is or what it is,
20:19 whether we can see it or hear it, or feel it, or whatever,
20:23 if we can't do that, one of the diagnostic signs that
20:27 we might be going down Alzheimer's highway.
20:29 There are things that we can do to maybe slow it down
20:32 but whatever the case is, we need to be aware
20:35 that it is happening because we've got to be ready
20:37 for it too, if we are not getting it, if our loved one is
20:40 I'll talk about that in a few minutes.
20:41 Dr. Thrash!
20:43 Alzheimer's by any means is not funny although sometimes
20:46 we loose our keys and we make a joke about it,
20:49 but Alzheimer's has a great impact on us and we need to
20:54 recognize the seriousness of this diagnosis.
20:59 There are certain things that happen to us in the brain
21:04 that are diagnostic of Alzheimer's, unfortunately
21:08 we have to have a sample of the brain itself in order to
21:11 make that diagnosis, and not very many people are going to
21:15 let you have that kind of sample to examine under
21:20 the microscope, but I would like to show you on
21:22 the white board here just what kind of thing we are
21:25 dealing with in the brain when we are talking about
21:29 Alzheimer's disease.
21:30 Let us say that we have here a nerve cell, here it is,
21:36 looks somewhat like this, and I'm going to draw it as if
21:39 it were on it's side so that I can make this extension
21:42 out here like that.
21:43 This is the axon, this is the cell body, and over here
21:48 we have some more processes which we call dendrites.
21:53 Now when the person is getting Alzheimer's disease, one of the
21:57 first things that happens is that, or one thing that
22:00 may happen is that they get Amyloid plaques that form
22:04 on the nerve cells somewhere.
22:08 It can be on the axon, it can be on the processes, or it
22:11 can be on the cell body.
22:13 These Amyloid plaques are of unknown source, we don't
22:19 really know where they come from, nor what makes them.
22:22 Although I have a theory, I think it may be from
22:25 our overeating or it may be from something that we do
22:30 that breaks one of the eight laws of health.
22:32 Another good reason to be careful about all of those,
22:36 but at any rate, at the present time we do not know
22:39 where these Amyloid plaques come from.
22:41 Another thing is a tangle of these processes,
22:45 these are called neurofibrillary tangles
22:48 and they can occur right up on the cell body or out
22:52 in the processes out here like this.
22:55 And then of course another thing that can happen is that
22:58 we can loose the entire cell, it just drops out and dies,
23:03 and this is a thing that we can understand as being
23:08 what Alzheimer's disease is.
23:11 It's a number of things that make it so that we are
23:15 unlikely to be able to transmit nerve impulses which we call
23:22 These changes usually occur in a portion of the brain
23:27 which might be thought of as being between the temples
23:33 and between the eyebrows where those two lines intersect
23:38 would be about where the hippocampus would be,
23:42 that's about the level, but it is on one side or the other.
23:45 Now some other things that we can tell you about Alzheimer's
23:51 that make a very serious problem is the impact that
23:55 Alzheimer's disease has on others.
23:58 I think that is one of the most serious things that we have,
24:01 and Don Miller is going to talk with you a bit about that.
24:04 You may be that other one of these days!
24:06 How do you deal with your loved one becoming a victim
24:11 of Alzheimer's?
24:12 First of all we have to not get flustered in the face
24:17 of that loved one because they to, where as they may seem like
24:21 they don't remember anything, they to are struggling with it
24:24 somewhere in that lost confused mind, so we have to do
24:28 a number of things for this person.
24:29 You have to realize that that person is going to go from
24:32 total independence, to total dependence.
24:35 They will go from the place where they can take their bath
24:38 by themselves, to the place where you've got to remind them
24:41 to take their bath, to the place where you have to
24:43 help them take the bath.
24:45 And the time is going to come when they don't want to
24:47 take the bath, and you can't force them at that point,
24:50 You've got to slowly bring them into that experience,
24:52 you've got to talk gently to them, they've got to be talked
24:55 gently to.
24:56 I've heard people with loved ones who may not have had
25:00 Alzheimer's but some type of dementia, some type of senility
25:04 and the person would ask the same question over...
25:07 Where are we going?
25:08 We're going to town! Where are we going?
25:11 We are going to town!
25:12 Where are we going?
25:14 And that would happen 20, 30 times, I would always marvel
25:18 that the person could sit there and answer that same question
25:21 the same kind way, exactly the same answer, every single time.
25:26 We have to become like that, that's the way Jesus
25:29 would like us to be in those situations.
25:31 We have to make sure we insure adequate time for all the
25:35 tasks that have to be preformed, if we have to go over here for
25:38 a purpose, or over there for a purpose,
25:40 don't think you are going to do it like you did it last week
25:42 or last year, it's going to take a little bit longer
25:44 to get there, a little bit longer to get out to the car,
25:46 because the person's going to be a little bit more afraid
25:49 of falling perhaps.
25:50 You've got to install some grab bars and some
25:52 protective things in the home for the person who is going
25:56 down Alzheimer's highway.
25:58 You've got to prepare for any task that you are going to be
26:01 taking that person to, if you are going to give them a bath
26:03 have everything ready before you put them in that bath.
26:06 You can't put them in that bath and then go off looking for
26:09 the towel or the soap, or the scrub brush, everything
26:13 has to be there, they can not be left alone,
26:15 especially in situations where it could become rather dangerous
26:18 for them.
26:19 And please protect their privacy, understand they need
26:23 that time of privacy, even though they may seem
26:26 like they don't know what's going on around them,
26:28 you have to give them that private moment, protect them,
26:31 don't make fun of them.
26:32 I've seen people make fun of people who are becoming
26:35 senile, it's not the time, it's not the place for it.
26:38 These people are to be loved as they loved you when they
26:41 had their full minds.
26:42 Take good care of these people and it will be
26:46 a whole lot better, and then you have to as I've already
26:49 mentioned, make sure you have a regular, rigidly regular
26:52 schedule for that person, and tell them even while they are
26:57 getting into that experience, that they have to always put
27:01 your keys here, and your water is always going to be here.
27:04 Set up a routine, so that they will get into a routine
27:06 and it might be a little bit better Dr. Thrash,
27:08 as they go down that highway.
27:10 Yes! We look at the aged with respect
27:15 and yet we must treat them often as children,
27:19 which is a very difficult balance for people to take.
27:22 Those who take care of them have to balance between
27:25 the respect and the love that they've always had for them,
27:29 the privacy that we know that they must have,
27:32 and also the care that we must take over them as if they were
27:37 actually children.
27:38 They may not look at themselves as being helpless,
27:41 but they often are helpless, they often need everything
27:46 done for them.
27:47 They may even need you to answer questions for them,
27:50 and so as God gives you the grace, deal with these people
27:53 with respect.