Dementia affects all nerves

One unified system

The best known of the diseases that damage nerves in the brain is Alzheimer’s disease. But,  it is not the only dementia. Among other nerve-damaging diseases are vascular and frontotemporal dementias and the dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. They can all degrade speech, thinking and purposeful activity. They are all horrendous and disabling,

 

We possess other nerves that are not in the brain: They also are susceptible to damage and death. They include nerves of the arms and legs with the nerves in the arms leading to muscle weakness in the muscles of the upper extremity.  The nerves to the legs are particularly susceptible to damage, resulting in the numbness and weakness of the feet and lower legs that destroys the sense of balance that these nerves provide, forcing the use of canes, walkers and wheelchairs. This nerve destruction in the legs is especially marked in people with pre-diabetes and diabetes and is considered a reason for diabetic lower extremity infections that sometimes lead to amputation.

 

The above list of nerve destruction in various body parts is nowhere near complete. However, I hope they give you the idea that when we discuss any particular disease, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementias—or numb feet or stumbling—we are really discussing a wide-spread damage of the nervous system. I strongly believe that when a nerve disease, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, or vascular or frontotemporal dementia, afflicts one part of our nervous system, in this case the brain, it is also affecting every other nerve in the body.

 

Comparing our nervous system to a tree may help you understand my point. The trunk of the tree is attached to all the leaves on the tree through the branches, even the smallest leaf on the branch at the greatest distance from the trunk. The tree is all one unit, an integrated whole. Our nervous system is like this tree, one unit, an integrated whole, with the brain attached to every nerve in the body, even the nerves furthest from it such as the nerves of the feet. Although we may notice disease in only one part of the nervous system, the whole nervous system is involved in disease.

 

My next blog and a request for help

In my next blog, I will return to this subject and discuss the reason for regarding the nervous system as a unified, integrated whole. In the meantime, help me spread the good news that dementia can be controlled and reversed. I know it can be reversed as I have experienced this reversal and want to help others to recover thought, speech and purposeful activity. If you are aware of a group that would profit from this news, please have them contact me through my website, www.drwwalsh.com.

This website also contains several other blogs and my speech that supplements the information in my book, Retaining the Mind. 

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