As I care for the families of those with dementia, nothing drives me crazier than the myriad businesses/practitioners/physicians who seek to separate people from their money by offering miracle cures.

The pitch usually goes something like this: Buy my magic beans. No one else knows how they work. But pay me, I’ll give you the special treatment, and you will be cured.

This is the oldest scam there is, probably as old as human consciousness. We’d all like to live forever. All of us, sometimes, indulge in magical thinking. But think about it: If there were a “miracle” cure, then we’d all know about it.

Just because someone claims something or “feels” that it’s true doesn’t make it so. Science demands proof. We have to evaluate each claim individually.

You can’t just say something like, “Mrs. Smith was doing well in her job, got dementia, and couldn’t care for herself. Then she took my magic beans, her mind cleared, and she went back to the office.”

Scientific medicine demands that you do a rigorous study. Give one group magic beans. Give another group sugar pills that look like magic beans. Track the responses of the groups. If it works or doesn’t, report the results in a scientific journal. That’s not elitism. It’s science. And science is primarily why men’s life expectancy has gone from 46 years to 78 years in the last century and from 47 years to 83 years for women.

Here are some of the biggest dementia cure scams currently out there:

  • Cryotherapy. Allegedly, if you put yourself in a cold chamber, it lengthens your lifespan. There is no evidence that this works.
  • Stem cells. Stem cells are cells that can turn into any cell type in the body. They’re a game-changing tool in some medical settings. Since embryos have lots of stem cells, there’s an idea circulating that injecting these youthful cells can help with brain function. It’s unproven and dangerous.
  • Youth plasma. Allegedly, injecting plasma, a component of blood, from a young person can somehow reverse dementia. This might make some intuitive sense, but there is no proof that it works. It can put you at risk of unnecessary infection. Be careful what you put in your body!
  • ReCODE. This is a protocol, a 36-point plan, to reverse dementia. Some of it makes sense, exercise and a mostly vegetarian diet, for instance. But there is no proof that it works.
  • Supplements. I have said this a million times. I will keep saying it: No supplements have been scientifically shown to reverse or slow dementia. None.

Here’s what has been proven to work by lots of scientific studies: Exercise. A mostly plant-based diet. Decreased stress. Enough sleep. All these things can slow aging and reduce your risk of dementia by more than 50 percent.

It’s not as easy as magic beans, but it works.

For more information, please visit us at elderconsult.com or call 650-357-8834.

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