It appears that the new drug Aduhelm will not be available to Canadians with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in the foreseeable future.
To help you understand what is going on, I am providing links for you:
1. a link to see the CBC National TV interview regarding this drug (includes me being interviewed) https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1932511299754.
2. a link to a consensus document regarding the review of Aduhelm by Health Canada, put together by expert researchers and clinicians from across Canada, in an article put out by Health Canada www.ondri.ca/aducanumab/.
This new drug (my plan A) was in clinical trials for at least eight years. I was anticipating that it could assist me to slow down the production of amyloid plaques that I am working hard to do through non-pharmaceutical interventions (no drugs) – my plan B. So, I stay with my plan B. Unfortunately, about one year ago, I dropped some of the components of my ‘Seven Pillars for Good Health;. A mistake. The rest of this column explains some of the activities that I dropped. I still have not progressed to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) but my focus and concentration has diminished. Not good.
Left hand: I am right handed and use it for most everything. I should use my left hand and get more exercise for my brain. So, I am back to using my left hand to; brush my hair, brushing my teeth, opening the door, etc. etc. These activities are not natural for me but do require me to use my brain – good exercise. My brain needs exercise too, just like my body!
Casual Exercise: I used to do about 15 minutes of calisthenics, mainly stretching and core work, before getting out of bed in the morning. I also sat on the side of the bed for 3 minutes to get my fluids vertical. When I rose, I did 1 minute of balance exercises. I no longer do that. I feel that this is necessary for me to get my body ready for the day, so I will restart.
Aerobic exercise: I used to go to our gym at least three days per week. I would walk the treadmill for 1/2 hour getting my pulse up to 105 beats per minute (BTM). I would then get on the stationery bike for 1/2 hour and get my pulse up to 130 BTM. I am starting on this routine again very soon. Regular aerobic exercise seems to be a necessity for me.
Writing: Some call it journaling, but writing these columns is a great benefit to me – keeps my brain very active. Believe it, or not, it takes me about 10 hours per week to research and write my semi-weekly columns for the Wingham Advance-Times newspaper and my monthly columns for the Alzheimer’s Society of Huron County (ASHC).
Diet: Growing up and living with Type 1 diabetes has given me an appreciation of eating well – few sugars, little alcohol and keeping weight down. But, over the last year I have slipped and now eat more processed foods and more calories. This has to and will stop. Intermittent fasting is keeping my weight down and I recommend it. My body mass index (BMI) is 22.
The current pandemic has been and still is both a curse and a benefit to us. The curse because a lot have died and the rest have been restricted in what we are able to do. The benefit is that we have learned the necessity of taking care of ourselves. COVID-19 is an infectious disease and reduced socialization, increased personal hygiene and a careful, healthy diet has become a way of life for many. When we rely on our health practionners to keep us alive, our resources are stretched too far and deaths can result. It is inevitable. Looking after ourselves is a necessary focus.
Personally, the pandemic has taught me to tighten up on my health practises. For example, I am just starting with an Osteopath in order to ensure that my body is properly aligned. I am doing this because I have sores in my mouth, itches and tingling on my scalp, and leg and cramps that the doctors have not been able to cure. Hopefully the Osteopath will help. My nervous system may be compromised. Maybe my creaky back and knees will benefit too.
I have also talked to a nutrition specialist and am trying to make changes in my diet. I am also reducing the amount of a drug that I take for dementia hoping that it may be causing some of my health issues (tingling and mouth sores).
I didn’t do a lot of the above last year because with the coming spring I was active in golfing and gardening. But, it was just not enough. My wife, my care partner, etc., keeps track of our busy schedule. The other day I asked her what keeps us so busy. Her answer; “You have seen 18 different doctors since we have been in Seaforth,” Sure shut me up! Then she reminded me that she does most of the driving and, because I can’t hear on the phone, she takes care of all my phone needs. My only reply was “What would you do without me,” as I quickly left the room.
“My Voyage with Dementia” continues with some adjustment until that ‘cure’ comes along, I hope.
Bob Murray is retired from the graphic communication (printing) industry and has been living in Seaforth since 2015. Murray was diagnosed with Dementia in 2013 and works hard to stop the progress of the disease to AD. He shares his experiences in his column entitled “My Voyage with Dementia”. Follow him on his blog entitled Voyage with Dementia – https://myvoyage553264702.wordpress.com