Alzheimer’s & Autism: We Can Change This

September 25, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

Laura Grace Weldon, Guest Writer
Waking Times

When we come across a new truth we can see how it connects to larger truths. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable, strange, or paradigm-shifting. Sometimes it’s so logical we wonder how it’s not part of our everyday conversation. 

Lately I’ve been reading new research findings. What I’m seeing amplifies what we can see on a larger scale—that we need to work with nature rather than try to control it. In terms of our health that means we must look very carefully at how tactics we’ve used to subvert nature’s designs (relying on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, feeding grains to ruminants, overprocessing foods, genetically modifying foods, super obsessive hygiene, and so on) come back to affect us (and our planet) in ways we hadn’t anticipated. Let’s talk a little about Alzheimer’s research, then dip into some studies about autism. It’s good news!

I got my first real job when I was 13. It was at a nursing home, where I fed residents who were unable to feed themselves. It was a heart-wrenching experience. There were a few people who suffered from cognitive decline, mostly due to stroke or hardening of the arteries. But most people were there because they couldn’t manage living alone after developing heart disease or emphysema, breaking a hip, going blind, or other overwhelming physical problem. Their frailty frightened me but I also learned a great deal from people 70 and 80 years older than me. In that 100 bed unit, back in the 1970′s, there wasn’t a single patient with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sure, the life-disintegrating disease was first identified in 1901. And yes, detection and diagnosis may very well change the way we track those numbers. Still it’s clear there’s an massive increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s. It’s seen most often in the developed world, while in rural areas of India and China the risk is very slight. This devastating disease robs of us of our loved ones. It deprives our culture of the elder wisdom we so desperately need. I know of several people who developed it in their late 50′s and early 60′s. I know people suffering with it now. It’s not the new normal.

Recently, some amazing studies have emerged. They aren’t particularly useful to the pharmaceutical industry, where research is geared to big profits in prescription drugs. They aren’t easily applied by the medical establishment which leans toward medications, treatment, and surgeries. Instead they have much more to do with what we eat and the way we live. The clues lead not only to breakthroughs in understanding Alzheimer’s disease but also the rise in autism. Please read the linked information, as I’m only giving a brief overview.

We’ve been advised by experts for decades that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease (it doesn’t, no matter how exhaustively you look at the research). We’ve been prescribed a lifetime of statins when our cholesterol levels are deemed “too high” even though cholesterol is essential for brain function. We’ve been told to eat low fat diets, particularly to avoid foods that we humans have been eating for eons. We’re even told our friend the sun, which fuels all life on this planet, is an enemy best defeated with sunscreen.

Yet we are substantially fatter, developing autoimmune disorders at epidemic rates, with a terrifiying surge in autism and Alzheimer’s disease. A report in the New England Journal of  Medicine forecasts a decline in life expectancy in the US.  Clearly we’re on the wrong path.

Blood sugar surges, infection, and inflammation are a few of the many interrelated ways that our brains suffer from an unnatural diet. I urge you to read the technical but entirely worthwhile article by MIT researcher Stephanie Seneff, titled “APOE-4.” To me it reads like a detective work starting with how our brains function, then following clues the brain gives us. She explains how cholesterol contributes to healthy brain function, which is why she urges daily intake of natural fats along with high levels of protein. She also points to the importance of maintaining normal vitamin D and calcium levels while avoiding the rush of elevated blood sugar that comes from eating much of today’s processed foods.  Following her recommendations helps to steer the body away from inflammation and infection which can seriously impair brain health. She also has nothing nice to say about statin drugs.

Her report is in keeping with more recent research (building on studies done over the last few years) that Alzheimer’s disease is related to damage caused by years of blood sugar spikes, which are the side effect of the average western diet. It’s being called diabetes of the brain or type 3 diabetes. This has been all over the news that last few weeks with headlines like “Junk food destroys the brain.” It’s quite a bit more complicated than that (for example, mindfulness practices like meditation reduces inflammation too) but those headlines aren’t lying.

This research also ties in to the increased incidence of autism. A low fat diet plus low vitamin D levels can cause changes to a fetus’ developing brain (please read all the way through this linked article for details). This sets off a cascade of issues, including poor calcium uptake and inflammation. Other promising research links a pregnant woman’s inflammatory response to higher rates of autism in her child. There are other underlying factors, including immune systems that are insufficiently challenged due to overly hygenic lifestyles and even the absence of parasites. And again, it’s much more complicated. It can be related to the father’s age, to gut bacteria, even to one’s ethnic group. Some say autism is the next step in human development, opening us to wider neurodiversity.

There’s no fault implied in any of these studies. We do the best we can with what we know. But maybe today’s brains are struggling to tell us that well-meaning attempts to make our lives better with sterile environments, processed food, and indoor lives simply takes us too far from our roots in nature. More research needs to be done, but there’s plenty we can do right now.

eat anti-inflammatory foods 

eat healthy fats 

get enough vitamin D 

exercise

For more information check out:

Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia

The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

About the Author

Laura Grace Weldon is a non-violence educator and marginally useful farm wench who lives with her family on Bit of Earth Farm. She’s the author of Free Range Learning. She edits books, contributes to a Wired site, and blogs about conscious living. Laura invites people to contribute their stories to her next book, Subversive Cooking. Please visit her excellent blog at www.lauragraceweldon.com.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with the buttons below…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Body, Business, Community, Contributors, Earth, Environment, Food, Healthcare, Laura Grace Weldon, Mind, Science, Self, Society, Time & Space

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. dimitri says:

    Whatever happened to the correlation established between explosive rates of Alzheimer’s and the switch in the developed countries from galvanized steel to copper water supply piping? This was supported by research showing excessive copper deposits on the brains of Alzheimer’s victims.

    The advent of the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions may well some day be viewed as the greatest trojan horses of history.

Leave a Reply

Must Watch Videos

A Letter To My Siblings

A Letter To My Siblings













Zen Gardner, Guest
Waking Times

A note from Zen: An answer to a question from awakening siblings about how have I kept up with world and American events being outside the US so many years. This is part of a discussion on world topics that we’ve been debating including More

September 13, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
5 Reasons to Expect Police Brutality to Get Worse Before it Gets Better

5 Reasons to Expect Police Brutality to Get Worse Before it Gets Better













Isaac Davis, Contributor
Waking Times

Few things are more disturbing than looking at the news each day to find yet another shocking case of American police officers using excessive brutality and belligerence against the public. There is no justification for this, and as the list of egregious rights violations by … More

September 11, 2014 | By | 12 Replies More
12 Little-Known Ways That Television Stifles Spiritual Awakening

12 Little-Known Ways That Television Stifles Spiritual Awakening













David Gardner, Guest
Waking Times

Television is a staple of almost every household in the developed world. Many kids spend more time watching TV than going to school, and the average time spent in front of the tube is 4.5 hours a day and rising. What effect does spending so More

September 8, 2014 | By | 9 Replies More
Blue Lotus : The Entheogen of Ancient Egypt

Blue Lotus : The Entheogen of Ancient Egypt













Waking Times

For over 3000 years the Blue Lotus was used by priesthood of ancient Egypt for its medicinal properties and as a spiritual sacrament. The Blue Lotus generally produces mild psychoactive effects that are purported to have a “divine” essence, which brings upon the feelings of tranquility and subtle … More

September 8, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
3 Videos That Will Shift Your Perspective, Showing Just How Small We Really Are in the Universe

3 Videos That Will Shift Your Perspective, Showing Just How Small We Really Are in the Universe













Buck Rogers, Staff Writer
Waking Times

Keeping a sense of perspective in these crazy times is imperative, and as astronomy pushes the envelope, seeking an ever greater understanding of our place in the cosmos, we are sometimes rewarded with fascinating new visual interpretations of our universe that have the … More

September 6, 2014 | By | Reply More

Activism Works

Sweden Recycling 99 Percent Of Garbage, Edging Closer To Zero-Waste

Sweden Recycling 99 Percent Of Garbage, Edging Closer To Zero-Waste













April McCarthy, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

There’s a revolution happening in Sweden right now. Dubbed the “recycling revolution,” the Scandinavian country now recycles 99 percent of their garbage, edging closer to a zero-waste lifestyle, nationwide.

Wouldn’t it be great if no household waste was wasted? If each and every item … More

September 4, 2014 | By | 6 Replies More
Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients

Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients













Coach Mark Smallwood, EcoWatch
Waking Times

In 431 B.C. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

More than 2500 years later, we are inundated with advertisements boasting the latest, greatest cure-all super drug. From a young age, we learn that it doesn’t matter how or … More

August 23, 2014 | By | 4 Replies More
As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry













, EcoWatch
Waking Times

We’ve got this.

Thanks to the courageous and indefatigable efforts of pipeline fighters everywhere, the tide has finally turned on Keystone XL. As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL’s northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights … More

August 4, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Seizing Control of Our Destinies

Seizing Control of Our Destinies













Julian Rose, Contributor
Waking Times

In 1381, at a time of great repression for the British agricultural work force, an extraordinary people’s revolutionary named Wat Tyler sprang to his feet and announced, “England should be a nation of self governing communities,” to which he added, “ No lord shall exercise … More

July 28, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project

Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

On Friday morning, Dan A. Hughes Oil Company and the Collier Resources Company agreed to terminate their lease agreement, with the exception of the Collier Hogan 20-3H well, next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.

Hughes Oil dropped its plans to drill … More

July 14, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More