Rising Rates of Alzheimer’s

Not only does Alzheimer’s disease (AD) contribute to high mortality rates in the elderly,1 it also places an enormous burden on families and the healthcare system.2 As the world population continues to age,3 the cumulative growth of patients with AD and the high levels of comorbidities present in these patients4,5 present an increasing challenge for clinicians.

There are many known AD risk factors, including vascular and metabolic health, diabetes, smoking, obesity, stroke, depression, and traumatic brain injury.6 As the leading cause of dementia, AD is an especially crucial arena for both preventative interventions and lifestyle modifications that can slow the course of the disease.

Director of Research at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, Patrick Hanaway, MD, describes how a Functional Medicine approach changes care for patients with dementia and Alzheimer's.

Functional Medicine is especially well equipped to minimize these risk factors. Many of the lifestyle factors that seem to protect against the development of AD are common tools for Functional Medicine practitioners, including a nutrient-rich diet,6 7,8 physical activity,6,7 and intellectual and psychosocial engagement and support.6,9

In addition, we know that Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline have many different causes, including vascular dysfunction and toxic exposure. It is possible to stratify patients with AD and cognitive decline by cause and focus on the appropriate treatments for that cause. The clinical subtypes and specific multimodal treatments for each clinical subtype will be detailed at Reversing Cognitive Decline.

Join IFM and MPI Cognition for this Advanced Clinical Training on preventing, slowing, and even reversing dementia and AD. You will learn to personalize and treat patients to reduce their risks, improve their vitality, and decrease associated health risks.

Register for Reversing Cognitive Decline


  1. James BD, Leurgans SE, Hebert LE, Scherr PA, Yaffe K, Bennett DA. Contribution of Alzheimer disease to mortality in the United States. Neurology. 2014;82(12):1045-50. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000240.
  2. PBS. Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts. St. Paul, MN. TPT National Productions; 2017. Aired January 25, 2017. Accessed February 8, 2017.
  3. He W, Goodkind D, Kowal P. An aging world: 2015. International population reports. United States Census Bureau. Published March 2016. Accessed February 8, 2017.
  4. Santos García D, Suárez Castro E, Expósito I, et al. Comorbid conditions associated with Parkinson’s disease: a longitudinal and comparative study with Alzheimer disease and control subjects. J Neurol Sci. 2017;373:210-15. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2016.12.046.
  5. Clague F, Mercer SW, McLean G, Reynish E, Guthrie B. Comorbidity and polypharmacy in people with dementia: insights from a large, population-based cross-sectional analysis of primary care data. Age Ageing. 2017;46(1):33-39. doi:10.1093/ageing/afw176.
  6. Reitz C, Brayne C, Mayeux R. Epidemiology of Alzheimer disease. Nat Rev Neurol. 2011;7(3):137-52. doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2011.2.
  7. Scarmeas N, Luchsinger JA, Schupf N, et al. Physical activity, diet, and risk of Alzheimer disease. JAMA. 2009;302(6):627-37. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1144.
  8. Gu Y, Nieves JW, Stern Y, Luchsinger JA, Scarmeas N. Food combination and Alzheimer disease risk: a protective diet. Arch Neurol. 2010;67(6):699-706. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.84.
  9. Monsell SE, Mock C, Roe CM, et al. Comparison of symptomatic and asymptomatic persons with Alzheimer disease neuropathology. Neurology. 2013;80(23):2121-29. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318295d7a1.

< Back to News & Insights