What Does Metabolic Enhancement Mean?
The term “metabolic enhancement” had not historically been associated with the treatment of movement disorders. However, that is beginning to change.
Some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, are caused by pathological changes in the body’s metabolism. Parkinson’s, like a number of neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging, is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of protein in a specific subset of neurons. Some proteins are so toxic to the cells that they not only inhibit growth but also cause them to die off when abnormal proteins are produced. Parkinson’s symptoms develop when alpha-synuclein (a protein) accumulates and forms a major buildup, which results in the loss of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that normally sends signals in the brain to control body movement.
That’s why we have begun implementing a protocol that was originally developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) called “MEND” which stands for Metabolic Enhancement for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
Metabolic Enhancement and the MEND Protocol
In 2015, Dr. Dale Bredesen, MD, published a paper on the successes he had in reversing cognitive decline in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (which is a neurodegenerative disorder just like certain movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease). During his research, Dr. Breeden created a new treatment protocol for neurodegenerative diseases which is based on an assessment of 36 different factors.
Dr. Bredesen research showed what many movement disorders doctors had observed in their own patients. In short, attacking just one aspect of the disease did not result in very good outcomes. However, by improving a patient’s overall metabolism across those 36 different factors, Dr. Bredesen’s research showed some positive results and even a reversal of the symptoms of some neurodegenerative diseases.
The results from the MEND study and other research on aging show that concentrating on lifestyle changes when used in combination with medications may improve brain health and possibly prevent or even reverse cognitive decline.
What’s Included in MEND?
MEND is a comprehensive combination therapy similar to the approach taken for patients with chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, or HIV. The program calls for interventions to treat conditions that could be associated with neurodegeneration such as inflammation, stress, and diabetes and involves a variety of factors designed to achieve metabolic enhancement and slow neurodegeneration.
MEND improves metabolic function through complex, wide-ranging efforts to address various functions at once. MEND incorporates multiple components including dietary adjustments (eliminating processed foods and simple carbs and eating more fruits, vegetables and fish), stress reduction, hormone balance, sleep optimization, plus the integration of varied cognitive activities and certain vitamins and supplements to the patient’s regular routine.
The Building Blocks of MEND
How Neurology Solutions Incorporates MEND Into the Treatment of Movement Disorders
Neurology Solutions Movement Disorders Center uses a comprehensive disease management approach similar to MEND and recommends several of the same interventions to movement disorder patients treated by the center.
In addition to assessing the need for FDA-approved medications, injections, and other advanced therapies, the center advises its patients to incorporate an anti-inflammatory diet, increase protein consumption, consider adding certain vitamins and supplements to their routine and engage in exercise and cognitive activities. The center also assesses patients for sleep issues and hormone deficiencies and promotes physical therapy, meditation, and other stress-reducing activities.
Dr. Izor said the findings of the MEND study are very exciting; however, he stresses that it is not a one-size-fits-all program and should be supervised by a physician.
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