Integrative Medicine

The Apple A Day RX maxim has always been and will always be ‘prevention is better than cure’. This ‘modus operandi’ has been the core of many traditional medicine systems and integrative healthcare practice. Preventive healthcare is often ranked low by healthcare agencies around the world but the evidence for preventive interventions keeps growing.

Integrative medicine naturally encompasses holistic healthcare treatment; physical, emotional, and spiritual health. These are integral to overall health!

Dementia

As the aging population grows so the incidence of neurocognitive disorders continues to increase. So, it follows that preventing the onset of neurodegenerative disorders is essential.

Common holistic healthcare preventive measures for cognitive decline include:
• Avoiding smoking
• Limiting alcohol intake
• Modifying diet e.g. reduced sugar, fats processed foods etc
• Exercise
• Intake of nutritional supplementation

A new study published in The Lancet from 24 international experts has provided recommendations for the prevention of dementia.They suggested that one in three cases of dementia is preventable.

They found that risk factors for Dementia include:
• Lack of Education
• Hypertension
• Obesity
• Hearing-loss in mid-life
• Smoking
• Exercise
• Depression
• Social isolation

The researchers recommended that increasing education in early life could reduce dementia by 8% as continuing secondary education (at least to the age of 15) helps strengthen neural networks. Furthermore, they suggested that treating mid-life hearing loss can reduce dementia cases by 9%; they postulated that hearing loss may be linked to social isolation.

The findings from the Lancet Commission on dementia, prevention and care is congruent with the integrative medicine and holistic healthcare treatment model i.e. lifestyle intervention factors.The Lancet commission consisted of 24 international experts who systematically reviewed existing research and provide evidence-based recommendations for treating and preventing dementia.

Other risk factors highlighted by the Commission included depression (four percent), physical inactivity (three percent), social isolation (two percent), high blood pressure (two percent), smoking (five percent), obesity (one percent) and type 2 diabetes (one percent).

The future of Dementia Care

The Lancet Commission on dementia have stated that the number of Dementia clients will increase from 47 million currently to 115 million by 2050.They further commented that, “We have not incorporated other potential risk factors, such as diet, alcohol, living near major roads, or sleep, which could be relevant,” it said. “Therefore, the potentially preventable fraction of dementia might be underestimated in our figures.

This study provides further evidence that healthcare agencies and governments should infuse preventive healthcare into routine healthcare treatment models as advocated by the integrative medicine practice model.