I commonly see people either over- or under-estimate the extent of their memory/cognitive issues. Under-estimating risks not getting treatment at an early stage when the Bredesen Protocol™ is most effective and success rates are highest to reverse cognitive problems. Over-estimating the extent of cognitive blips has people living with undue worry.
Please don’t skip having a cognitive assessment to determine your current baseline and whether further medical evaluation is warranted. This is especially true for those who perceive that they’re already having “senior moments”.
Therefore, it’s wise to get an objective measure of cognitive function via a clinically-validated cognitive assessment. Getting a quantitative measure of your normal cognition is a valuable part of a “cognoscopy” for future comparison before any significant cognitive problems arise.
Understandably, most people are hesitant to take a cognitive test. When I meet someone to administer a MoCA test, before I can ease their mind a bit, I usually sense emotion from subtle apprehension to pained anxiety over the possibility of not hitting the “normal” score range. Recognizing cognitive decline could jeopardize how a person sees themself and their future. Initially, tuning out how much cognitive functioning has been declining may seem less stressful, but identifying impairment as early as possible potentiates a far better experience over the longer term. Early diagnosis and implementation the Bredesen Protocol™ provide the best chance for complete reversal of symptoms.
I perceive nervousness in those who end up breezing through the test. I also observe people who initially describe their memory issues as quite modest perform in a way that reflects much more significant cognitive impairment. The bottom line: we don’t know until we test.
Some Cognitive Test Options
A few of the least expensive, least time-consuming clinically-validated cognitive assessments for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s include the Mini-Cog, Ace-R, and MoCA.
Even if you aren’t aware of any memory or cognition troubles, Dr. Bredesen recommends that everyone over the age of 45 years take the MoCA test as part of their “cognoscopy” to establish a baseline for future comparison. If you speak with your doctor about memory loss, insurance should cover one of these tests. I am MoCA-certified and offer to administer the MoCA test for $20-30 before or after a Brain Health meetup or coaching session.
A different cognitive assessment is more appropriate for those with more subtle, subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) or high achievers who perform well yet below their previous norm. Your doctor may be able to order a full neuropsychological examination for you. Another option is CNS Vital Signs—an online test you can take from home or in the clinic that evaluates fifty evidence-based markers of cognitive functioning. I make an online CNS Vital Signs test with full report available to my clients for $45. I’ve completed basic training with CNS-VS to help you understand your report.
For a loose cognitive measure, you can get an overall percentile result of memory and executive functioning for your age with a paid subscription to the brain training applications BrainHQ or Luminosity. These brain games provide some feedback of cognitive performance, but not clinically-validated testing like the MoCA or CNS-VS.
Kudos to all of you who have braved through cognitive testing
Please do not risk boot-strapping the diet and lifestyle of Bredesen Protocol™ on your own if you have not completed some sort of cognitive assessment to rule out substantial cognitive impairment. Sweeping memory and cognitive symptoms under the rug without proper evaluation jeopardizes your future.
If you cannot say BOTH you’re happy with your cognitive test results AND with your brain fully functioning in daily life, then it’s time to consult a doctor. Don’t let uninformed people falsely attribute your concerns to “normal aging”.
If the test reveals a cognitive concern, please seek further medical evaluation.
Dr. Bredesen tells us that there is always a reason for memory and/or cognition losses. Many of these causes cannot be fixed with diet and lifestyle alone.
Besides the gradual onset of Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss can be due to Lewy Body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, excessive alcohol use, brain tumors, adverse effects of prescription drugs, head injury, or other causes. Cognitive symptoms need a medical work-up and diagnosis to guide the course of treatment. Non-Alzheimer’s etiology may not be helped by the Bredesen Protocol™ and may require a different intervention.
In the prevention phase, you may be able to enhance your brain health via diet and lifestyle with through your own diligence or with professional guidance. But if you’re already experiencing cognitive decline, the full Bredesen ReCODE Protocol™ is in order with guidance from a ReCODE Report™ and ReCODE Qualified™ practitioner.
Measure where you stand cognitively to guide your best path forward.