I would agree with MT lady. As I posted in another post today, I also gave my mother Namenda (the actual non-generic name is Memantine) back in 2003, when I saw an article in the New York Times. Memantine (Namenda) was not available in the US, and one had to get a doctor's prescript
ion, fax it to a company, and they got it overseas. At that point, it cost $550 for a 90 day prescript
It sure worked well. I was taking mom to daycare, and told the nurses to watch her. After -- literally -- 10 days, the nurse (who was older than my mom, who was 79 at that point), asked if I was giving her "that drug." When I asked why she was asking, and did she see an improvement, she emphatically replied, "YES!" Mom was apparently very lively again.
The memantine, in my mom's case, worked for around 6 months. I noticed a falloff in its effects after that. I had insisted to the doctor that I wanted combination therapy, Aricept and Memantine together. He resisted, but we made a deal that if she hadn't improved in 90 days, I would give her the medication he wanted to try. That never happened, since the Memantine worked.
However, synthetics cannot penetrate the blood/brain barrier, where all the "sludge" is slowly covering the nerve endings, so they cannot communicate with each other. I found Turmeric (sold in health food stores) actually restored partial memory, but even more, her self-awareness (a sense of appropriate behaviour
, like whether she had made a fool of herself when the pastor came over to give her communion one time). Since I'm a gay man who lived in San Francisco from the early 70s until 2002, and had had nearly all of my friends die of AIDS, and develop dementia at one point or another, I had a lot of experience in gauging how bad their dementia was (we used to ask them to name their mother, father, sisters and brothers and ask math questions, like what's 10 x 5, in order to gauge when they could no longer answer those questions and were deteriorating further). Turmeric, if you look at studies, has been offered as a way of slowing deterioration, and, as I mentioned in my other post, it DOES penetrate the blood/brain barrier, since it's a natural substance. It seemed to almost act as a "detergent", maybe by scrubbing the sludge off the synapses. Even my brother, who is slightly mentally slow, noticed that mom seemed more alert
(although I initially told him he wouldn't see any results for 30 days, just to throw him off. I didn't want to influence anything he saw. After about
8 or 9 days, he came to me and said, "I know you said we wouldn't see anything for at least 30 days, but..." I had noticed it too, and knew that my mother showed signs of improvement on the Memantine after 8 days as well, but he wasn't around then).
I am highly disgusted (and wrote the New York Times two days ago), about
the fact that doctors won't suggest natural (aka "homeopathic) remedies, since they have not done enough "studies." I wasn't going to have my mom deteriorate just because they'd rather give her drugs than suggest anything natural. I had taken an Alzheimer's training course when I moved back here (East Coast) from San Francisco in 2002, and asked the doctors at the Alzheimer's training sessions why they didn't recommend ginko (at that point, turmeric had not been known to help in slowing down the progression of Alzheimers). Their response? "Well, we can't be sure of the quality of it." Anyone who was an AIDS caregiver knew that ginko, as well as vitamin E, only worked in LARGE doses, not small ones. Again, I thought this dumb: our parents and relatives are dying and they're worried about
a NATURAL substance that doesn't kill off the vitamins in the body (have no doubt about
it: man-made drugs use up vitamin B and other vitamins in your body to process themselves through your system). I was completely disgusted earlier this year, when doctors proclaimed ginko had no effects. I thought they were completely moronic. In the AIDS crisis, we all figured out -- long before AZT, and we were the ones telling the doctors things we'd found worked (vitmain E in large doses [ 1200 mg or higher -- E is an anti-oxidant and provides oxygen to the brain. It also works great if you're a runner or work out. You'd notice you're much less fatigued]) and ginko IN LARGE DOSES, meaning 1000 mg or higher. Small doses of ginko don't work at all, and the doctors used 250mg in their tests. I was completely frustrated that they didn't have to sense to consult people, such as those of us who were caretakers in the 80s and had a network where we consulted each other about
what remedies so-and-so was receiving and did it work about
this. All of us knew it worked only in large doses, and wish I knew who to write to about
that study, so I could verbally lambaste them for such idiocy.
Turmeric works, as I said in my other post, but has the side effect of causing constipation after a few months. Big deal. I'd rather have a mother (and she was at Stage 5, out of 7 stages of Alzheimers) who got back some of her memory and who knew when she was demonstrating inappropriate behaviour
(well, to HER it was inappropriate, such as making a fool of herself in a public place or when the pastor came over to give her communion), then wait for them to find a cure. Besides, neither ginko nor turmeric can harm the person, although it's a good idea to observe them and give them a series of questions to answer, so you can tell if they're becoming more forgetful. I asked mom to name her 10 brothers and sisters and asked math questions (she helped people do tax returns, so it was easy to ask "how much is 10 x10" or "What's 12 divided by 100, to which she replied, 'Glen, you can't divide 12 by 100" so I replied, "Fine, what's 100 divided by 12?" She was able to say "8..." and couldn't remember the fractionalized portion of it. Pretty good for doing it in your head at stage 5 of Alzheimers.
I do realize some people's relatives become violent: my mom did not, and she remembered who I was until the end -- when she had a stroke.
Anyway, enough babling. Germany used Memantine (Namenda) for 20 years for dementia (I can't remember if it was for vascular dementia or another form), but as MT lady mentions, it works. I gave mom the Aricept, Namenda AND the turmeric all at the same time (the turmeric I would give her 300 mg 3 x a day = 900mg).
If you want to try the drugs first, do the combination theory, but I beg of you to at least TRY the turmeric for a month or so. The constipation doesn't set in that quickly and, unless they have an allergy to it, it does help. Look up information on the 'Net.
I just wonder how long it will be before we understand that Nature does the best job of healing our bodies. I also wonder when medical professionals will
open their minds and not be afraid of lawsuits if suggesting natural drugs for Alzheimers. They may be avoiding lawsuits but meanwhile our loved ones are sinking deeper and deeper into madness. As a survivor of the AIDS crisis (I never got it), Alzheimer's is, to me, a "repeat" of a war I've already been through once, and experience being the best teacher, I found vitamins and natural substances working surprisingly well.
Post Edited (mcbrion) : 8/21/2011 12:03:45 PM (GMT-6)