Frequently Asked Questions:
RealHealth Clinics approaches medicine differently compared to the "standard-of-care" medical model that is driven by health insurance. We believe the standard approach limits the ability of your doctor to provide you with the best care. Our focus is on positive health outcomes. To do that, we cannot be limited by time and our ability to order diagnostic tests we consider important. It is understandable that our novelty leads to questions and encourage anyone visiting our site to send us questions through our "Contact" page.
1. Is there a cure for Alzheimer's?
In AD, brain tissue is lost (atrophy). This tissue will never recover. In active Alzheimer's, the process of replacing neurons in the brain (neurogenesis) has stopped or significantly slowed. By treating the cause of the lost neurogenesis, new brain tissue can be produced. Somewhat normal function can return to patients in some cases. We have experienced a case were a patient could not identify an orange by name. However, after 6-month of treatment, he was able to indentify the fruit by name. Outcomes like this may not technically be a cure, but to the individual and family, there was significant enough improvement to prevent him from requiring nursing home care.
2. Why do you not accept insurance?
Health insurance controls a doctor's practice. If we accept insurance, we are forced to abide by a book of diagnostic and treatment codes. Thus, for Alzheimer's we would have to use the same diagnostics and treatments that all other clinics that accept insurance use for the disease. They do not work! Our Alzheimer's medical protocol involves extensive diagnostics because we do not accept a final diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. That is a dead end for you, our patient. Many of the tests we perform are not covered by insurance and practices that accept insurance do not do these tests. We are an outcome driven organization. We will work with you to obtain reimbursement from your insurance company but RealHealth Clinics does not interface directly with insurance companies.
3. Can I just get the eye test?
Yes. We are not a "concierge" practice. You need not sign up for a year of medical services. You can just take the eye test to determine your future risk of Alzheimer's or to measure the extent of disease if you are a sufferer of AD. Be aware that, if you do not have Alzheimer's but "fail" our eye test, it is unlikely that any other clinic or medical practice in the world will be able to help you arrest the disease. However, if you choose to see your regular doctor, we will give you information that will help your doctor perform more diagnostics and carry out a treatment. Your well being is our only priority regardless of the doctor managing your care.
4. Do you treat diseases other than Alzheimer's?
Yes but we do not advertise about other diseases because our focus is on Alzheimer's. Our belief is that many chronic diseases either overlap or are interconnected. The common factor underpinning these diseases is inflammation. We will consider screening, diagnosing, and treating people with neurodegenerative disease on a case-by-case basis. Neurodegenerative diseases include: Parkinson's, ALS, multiple sclerosis, dementias, and glaucoma. We are not a general medicine practice and our primary focus is Alzheimer's disease.
5. Are you a holistic or alternative medical clinic?
No. We are a traditional medical clinic that considers anything that might help our patient's health improve. That includes nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and lifestyle modifications. We do not believe that prescribing drugs alone is the solution to good health. Health and disease is much more complex than that. Our medical practice relies on advanced diagnostics testing. How we treat you, our patient, is based on the results of our testing and your medical history. We view our practice as "objective outcome-based medicine." That is, when we find problems based on testing, we treat it and then remeasure to determine if we are successful in improving your health.
6. Do you have standard treatments for Alzheimer's?
Our treatments are based on the outcome of the diagnostic process. We do not settle for a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. When we dive deep into your physiology we (often) find reasons why you have an initial diagnosis of Alzheimer's. After the diagnosis process, we assess which of the results have treatable targets. Your treatment program is based on this process. Indeed we do find similar diagnostic results among Alzheimer's patients so treatments may be similar. Ultimately the treatment depends upon the diagnosis, your health, and other considerations that lead to a dosing plan.
7. Do you use neutraceuticals to treat Alzheimer's?
It appears that the first step in the Alzheimer's disease process is a breakdown or activation of the immune system. Poor nutrition leads to a weak immune system while good nutrition builds a strong immune system. Even the "healthy" low fat modern diet is not appropriate to avert Alzheimer's. Good nutrition, sometimes augmented with supplements, is part of our program. The brain is mostly fat and water. Omega 3 fatty acids are important components of neuron cell membranes and must be part of our patient's treatment plan.
8. What does the eye test reveal?
A lot! Where else can a doctor observe bare blood vessels and bare nervous tissue noninvasively? Wikipedia published a list of systemic diseases with ocular manifestations. In 1990 Daniel Gold published a 700 page book titled "The Eye in Systemic Disease." Our doctors understand all these eye/disease connections. In Alzheimer's disease, the eye is highly impacted both before a person has symptoms of disease and while their disease is apparent. We use several markers in the eye for screening/early diagnosis of Alzheimer's and to track the progression of the disease and effect of our treatments.
9. Why is your disease management program so expensive?
This is a year-long program. Alzheimer's doesn't develop overnight, it takes years to manifest. Managing the disease also takes a considerable amount of time. it is not a matter of taking a couple of pills for a few weeks. Our doctors spend a lot of time with you. They also spend a lot of time behind the scenes to determine your treatment plan and evaluate your progress.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, the average nursing home stay for an AD patient is 4 years with an average cost of $80,000/year. Base on these figures, the return on investment (ROI) for our disease management program is 3900%.
10. Do you provide any guarantees?
No. However, if you "fail" the eye test we will likely be able to determine some (many, all?) root causes operating in your body. We have also found, in younger people, sometimes the eye does not reveal disease markers but our Step 2 blood test does. We do not offer any guarantees but we are quite confident that our patients will have a much better understanding about their health and disease after testing. It is the outcome of the diagnosis that drives treatments. When the diagnosis is thorough, the treatments have a much higher likliehood of being successful. In all cases, this greatly depends upon the health of the patient and their compliance with our program.
11. Is anyone eligible to become a patient?
Yes. Our primary concern is with people who are suffering from accelerated cognitive decline. We are also excited to test people who are concerned about their future potential to get Alzheimer's disease or those aware that Alzheimer's disease takes a decade or more to impact their health. Our screening and testing may not catch all current or potential dementia or Alzheimer's sufferers. We have a very specific testing method and protocol. Those that do not trigger any of our diagnostic measures for disease will ber referred elsewhere. We only treat those patients that show signs of risk factors for Alzheimer's or dementia based on our pre-defined criteria.
12. Can I still keep my regular doctor(s)?
Yes. We are a specialty clinic that deals only with neurodegenerative disorders, especially Alzheimer's disease. We are not a concierge practice that manages your entire health and the health of your family. Our mission is to prevent, diagnose, and treat Alzheimer's disease. We believe that our methods, including treatments, will lower the chance of our patients getting a range of chronic diseases. However, you will still need your existing medical team to manage your day-to-day personal and family health issues.
13. Will you provide reports to my other doctors?
Yes. Your health information is owned by you, not us. We will gladly provide you with information about our findings and will fax or email any report you wish to any member of your regular medical team.
14. Will I need to stop my current medications?
There are two parts to the answer to this question. 1. For those who go through the entire diagnostic portion of our medical protocol and entering into the desease management program, medicines will likely be prescribed. The medications that you are prescribed will be personal to you, based on your medical workup. However, often we prescibe medications that are contraindicated (incompatible with) statins. We will highly encourage all our patients to get off statin drugs because of incompatibility with our prescriptions but also because of many deleterious side effects that work against our treatment program. We have ample medical literature to support our claim that you need to be off statin drugs if you have or are concerned about dementias. We will most likely not treat patients who decide not to cease their statin medications. 2. Some drugs and supplements are contrary to a healthy brain. We will ask our patients to stop taking these substances. Compliance with our recommended program is critical to your positive health outcome. You have a choice to stay on medications and supplements that we advise against. However, our medical team may elect to forego your treatment based on a conclusion that we will not be able to improve your condition based on choices that are contrary to our program.
15. How long will it take for my condition (memory) to improve?
Our treatment is a 2-step process. 1. Stop the cause of why your brain is not producing new neurons. 2. Promote the growth of new neurons (neurogenesis) and remodel (rebuild) brain tissue. Many of our past and current patients have seen noticable improvements in 3 months but most see clear improvements in 6 months. This is based on either cognitive test results or testimonials from friends and family. There are some patients who do not improve. We are often able to tell by the conclusion of the diagnostic portion of our protocol, if you have risk factors and conditions that are modifiable by our treatments.
16. How long will I need to be in the program to get better?
The screening and diagnostic component of our program takes about 1 month because it involves several steps and each step is dependent upon the results of the previous steps. Your actual time in our clinic will amout to several hours. Most people will respond to our disease management and treatment program within 1 year. During that time, a patient will visit our clinic about 6 times. We do recommend the "2nd year" program for all who go through our 1-year disease management program. We also recommend that all our patients return for the "2nd year" program every 3 years. Alzheimer's is a disease that cannot be cured, however it can be controlled and people's mental and physical health can and often does improve. However, staying "Alzheimer's free" is subject to the health of your immune system that naturally decays with age.
17. Why hasn't any other medical group come up with a program for Alzheimer's?
We wish other had because the information is published in the medical literature. If you read our book, "The End of Alzheimer's? A Differential Diagnosis toward a Cure," we site thousands of medical research articles as reference material for the book and our protocol. What we do is all published. However, it takes a true medical maverick to go against the prevailing medical culture. A discussion on that topic is well beyond our FAQ section. Finally, our Chief Medical Officer is a maverick doctor who developed and used our protocol for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases for over 20 years. His methods work and they are all based on the work of other's who have published their results in the medical literature.
18. Will I need to change my diet?
Diet is a big factor contributing to immune health. Immune health is a big factor contributing to Alzheimer's disease. We certainly evaluate all aspects of your personal environment including nutrition. We will surely make dietary recommendations. Also, we will measure aspects of your physiology that diet impacts. Based on these tests we will make very specific recommendations including diet and supplementation. There are instances where your diet may make you not a candidate for treatment. For example, people with vitamin D levels that are deficient do not respond well to treatment. In this instance, you will have to supplement with vitamin D if our methods are to provide you with the type of outcome you hope for.
19. Why does the medical world say there is no treatment for Alzheimer's?
This is a very complex question with an even more complex answer. We answer this question in our book, "The End of Alzheimer's? A Differential Diagnosis toward a Cure." However, the medical literature is full of information on methods of prevention and treatment for Alzheimer's that work. Here is just one example that comes from the Framingham Study, arguably the longest ongoing health study every initiated. One of their findings is that people with high levels of fish oil in their blood have a 47% lower incidence of Alzheimer's compared to people with low levels of fish oil. Does a factor of 2 reduction in Alzheimer's sound like a good treatment compared to what you are told? Isn't taking fish oil then a treatment for Alzheimer's? Fish oil supplementation is a small, but affective part of our treatment protocol. It should be part of any treatment program that neurologist who manage Alzheimer's disease prescribe, but it is not. We are as baffled as are you.