(NaturalHealth365) No doubt, conventional medicine is a big believer in ‘a pill for every ill’ and much of the general public gets affected by this mentality – on a daily basis. Of course, big pharma is the driving force behind this concept. Unfortunately, the increasing demand for more and more drugs is being linked to serious side effects – especially as it relates to brain health.
The reality is: evidence is mounting that these drug ‘therapies’ have side effects that can, in many cases, be worse than the original problem itself. For example, a recent study by the Indiana University School of Medicine found that anticholinergic drugs can cause cognitive impairment and a higher risk of dementia.
The researchers found reduced brain size, memory issues and lowered cognitive performance in study participants who were taking one or more anticholinergic drugs. (you think patients are being adequately informed about the risk?)
Anticholinergic drugs include over-the-counter allergy medicines, sleep aids and drugs for cardiovascular disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), hypertension (high blood pressure) and other chronic diseases. And, just for the record, these anticholinergic drug brand names include: Benadryl, Dramamine, Dimetapp, Paxil, Unisom, VESIcare and Demerol.
How big pharma drugs damage your short-term memory and ability to problem-solve
Most Americans, influenced by Western medicine, are all too attracted to “drive-thru” quick-fix band-aids like these drugs – instead of lifestyle changes and more holistic solutions. Because of this, many often overlook long lists of side effects and risks that are associated with big pharma drugs. (being uninformed is also part of the problem.)
The Indiana University School of Medicine study aimed to look at the physical changes involved in accelerating cognitive decline. The study examined 451 people who were an average age of 73. Of the 451, 60 were taking at least one anticholinergic drug. The researchers used memory and cognitive tests to identify physiological changes associated with cognitive issues. They also utilized MRI scans to assess brain structure and PET scans to measure brain metabolism.
Patients that took the anticholinergic drugs were found to perform worse on cognitive tests, particularly short-term memory tests. Verbal reasoning, executive function, problem-solving and planning were also adversely affected.
Anticholinergic drugs are linked to a higher risk of dementia
The users of anticholinergic drugs also showed lower glucose metabolism levels in the hippocampus and overall brain. Glucose is a biomarker for brain activity, and the hippocampus is associated with memory and is an area that is affected in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Anticholinergic drug users also showed larger ventricles and reduced overall brain volume.
These findings clearly shine a light on what happens biologically as cognitive issues develop when anticholinergic drugs are being used. The findings are corroborated by a 2013 study out of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research – which showed that taking anticholinergics for just 60 days could cause cognitive issues.
Hopefully, these research results will serve as a warning to anyone who has ever taken anticholinergic drugs or is considering taking them. Older individuals and those with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease should think carefully before deciding to use these drugs.
Ultimately, when it comes to eliminating dis-ease symptoms, we all have to make big decisions. Should we quickly reach for a pharmaceutical drug? Or, is there a more natural (safer) way to enhance immune function and regain our health?
Sources for this article include:
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