A New Mindset on Cognitive Health Testing

Two things happened to me when I turned 50. I started receiving AARP letters to remind me I had turned 50, and my doctor was on me about having a colonoscopy procedure done. Since turning 50 my doctor has never wanted to run a test to check my brain health. You would think with the risk of Alzheimer’s( a disease for which we have no cure ), doctors would be wanting to monitor our cognitive health. Our brains play such a fundamental roll in our being. They’re responsible for our mood, our memory, our ability to think, and strategize, imagine, and even communicate with others. So it’s easy to understand why having a brain that is healthy and working optimally is so important to living a life that is meaningful and enjoyable.

In the United States alone, some 5.5 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, significantly detracting from their ability to enjoy life, and certainly impacting their loved ones. It can oftentimes seem this disease is harder on the caregiver than the patient. This is a global problem, that is a trillion-dollar problem, that threatens to bankrupt Medicare, which will literally change healthcare throughout the world because it reaches so many people. Currently in the United States, about 15% of people, lifelong, will develop Alzheimer’s. It has become the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Being Proactive and Prevention is Key to Winning the Battle against Alzheimer’s

What in the world is a Cognoscopy?

You can’t fix a problem you’re unaware of, which is why doctors want us to have a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer. The same goes for brain health, so whether you are interested in preventing cognitive decline or reversing it, you first need to determine in detail, where you stand in terms of your vulnerability. Things like inflammation, toxins, suboptimal hormones, and brain nutrients can make us more susceptible to Alzheimer’s. Dr. Dale Bredesen has coined the term “Cognoscopy” as a way of identiying areas we need to address for optimal cognitive heath.

The cognoscopy, developed by Dr. Bredesen, author of the book The End of Alzheimer’s, is a series of screening tests that aim to assess the risk of Alzheimer’s development and identify the factors contributing to an individual’s cognitive decline to correct those abnormalities. Blood tests, genetic tests, mental status exams, and MRIs are used to detect cognitive decline in its earliest stages, determine potential causes and prevent its progression.

After decades of researching the disease, Dr. Bredesen came to the conclusion that there are 36 identifiable causes, or “holes” of Alzheimer’s that must be addressed holistically in order to provide successful treatment and prevention. Previously believed to be irreversible, Dr. Bredesen suggests that the disease may be both reversed and prevented through the repair and proper maintenance of these 36 potential issues.

According to Dr. Bredesen’s research, all adults 45 or older, especially those with close relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, should be recommended a cognoscopy to determine their risk for development as well as to ensure preventative treatment is implemented as early as possible. With these screening tests to detect early signs of the disease, earlier diagnosis will be made possible and with it, better outcomes for patients.

You Can Make a Difference Today

‘Action Changes Things’ chalk text and ACT acronym notes on blackboard.

Although cognoscopy has yet to be acknowledged as an approved Alzheimer’s detection procedure, the evidence strongly suggests that early detection of cognitive decline leads to better prognosis in patients. Other methods of optimizing brain health should be recommended to all individuals, and especially patients at risk of Alzheimer’s development.

While studies on the effects of cognoscopy on the incidence and outcomes of the disease are limited, implementing certain lifestyle choices such as physical activity and diet may help support brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s until further research is conducted. My role as a health coach is to help individuals implement a brain-healthy lifestyle. If you would like more information about how a “cognoscopy” works you can visit my website at:

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