Book Reviews -- Body Health -- Brain Health
Author: Sandra Cabot
Title: Alzheimer's - What you MUST know to protect your BRAIN and improve your memory
Book Review 30.12.2008
(c) 2008 by Heidrun Beer
This book review was originally published on a mailing list for oldtime Scientologists. It therefore contains special words from the Scientology universe, marked in italic print. Please look them up in a Scientology dictionary.
Sandra Cabot: Alzheimer's - What you MUST know to protect your BRAIN and improve your memory
ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE AUTHOR:
Another one of Sandra Cabot's health books.
I like this lady. She is a fully trained medical doctor, but not a mainstream robot. She has a sharp intelligence and therefore always looks for the cutting edge research, the alternative scene, AND the traps and errors in mainstream medicine. I have read her menopause and liver books and was very pleased with them.
The book's subtitle "What you MUST know to protect your BRAIN and improve your memory" tells more than the main title "Alzheimer's", because it is not always Alzheimer's that takes away our memory and cognitive functions - she tells us about alternative roots for these problems as well.
For instance I didn't know that DEPRESSION had many symptoms in common with the various forms of dementia, Alzheimer's included, especially in older people. Or how many such symptoms can come from sleeping problems or sleep apnoe (that's when we stop breathing while asleep - a situation that requires medical treatment.)
There are many interesting bits and pieces that were new to me - and convinced me one more time that any given subject really asks for a little library and not a single book, because every author presents facts that the other authors don't mention.
For the very first time I learned that fat-free diets and cholesterol-lowering drugs are both bad for the brain and increase the chances to get Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Our brains need both cholesterol and fat to stay healthy, and taking fat out of the diet is a serious medical error!
Cholesterol is mainly made by the body itself, but to remove it from the blood stream by drugs is an error as well - cholesterol is needed for cell repair, and high cholesterol levels are a sign that the body is trying to repair a damage, NOT a symptom of wrong eating! (On the other hand, the DAMAGE could come from wrong eating - so there IS a connection after all!)
Also for the very first time I learned the ideal composition of the so-called "good fats" (the fats that our body needs to function):
- 1/3 saturated fats (I was just about to find a low-fat version of the dip for my carrots, but now I returned to the earlier version which has natural milk fat [butter])
- 1/3 mono-unsaturated fats (that would be mostly olive oil)
- 1/3 poly-unsaturated fats, with a 1:1 ratio between omega 6 and omega 3. Our "educated" diet with its emphasis on plant oils has a 20:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. Dr. Cabot says that this is one main reason for the increase of dementia cases and she has the numbers to prove it!
That was just a little splinter of knowledge that was new for me. Other things I knew, like the importance of physical exercise (there is a lot of good advice in the book about how to build that up on a clever gradient), and of course the importance of diet in general.
Dr. Cabot is less radical than Traverso in the e-book I reviewed a few weeks ago, and I am surprised that she does not mention the importance of an alkaline diet. She also mentions mercury poisoning, which is such an important enemy of the brain, only in one small side bar and doesn't give detox instructions. Well, there are more books on Amazon :-)))
On the other hand, she has a big section on antioxidants - another new splinter of knowlege was that antioxidants should always be taken together with unsaturated fats, so that the "good fats" don't get destroyed by oxygen before they can be used -, a very interesting section on medication (not mentioned are MSM and lithium, both of which show up on Google as promising new approaches), many great kitchen recipes and an amazing collection of
Much more than Traverso (who does mention them but not to such an extent), she tells us about ways to train the brain back to full capacity. Many excellent drills are described, and website URLs with many more are given.
According to Dr. Cabot (and we notice the resonance with the recently reviewed book "The Brain That Changes Itself"), a big part of losing our mind comes from NOT USING IT. A boring routine life, no new intellectual challenges, no reading, no learning - these are certain ways for the brain to switch itself off, while an active life with always new things to learn cause it to grow new substance and connections.
USE IT OR LOSE IT - an old proverb, but to be taken seriously in context with the brain and the mind.
Should I mention MOTIVATION again, which was the key factor in the book about the brain that changes itself?
It sounds a platitude, but if we want to live well, we need a reason for living, a task, a duty, a "mission". Of course Dr. Cabot does not elaborate on this, but where we have lost our motivation to live, some sessions with a trusted auditor may be an idea.
I don't think the book is as complete as it should be, but as long as it's not the only one, it deserves its place in a good brain library.