Panacea and snake oil

Panacea: Latin, from Greek panakeia, from panakēs all-healing, frompan- + akos remedy.

From my high school vocabulary words I remember panacea being described as a cure-all.

It’s a magic pill or a magic ingredient, or a restorative bath in some exotic jungle, which might be an adventure I’d hazard to risk.

Dementia snake oil

The search for Ponce de León’s fountain of youth continues and it yields myriad panacea claims, discoveries, myths, and legends in the area of dementia.

We’ve all experienced the harking of coconut oil and peanut oil as a cure. I’ve read that mayonnaise prevents Alzheimer’s. (I’ve also read that it causes it.) You should drink red wine. You shouldn’t drink red wine. Or any wine.

I’ve read that an herb called Grazoph Temuna will prevent dementia. Some are claiming that a Chinese medicine moss extract will also prevent dementia. Or a certain amino acid found naturally in seaweed. I’ve read that green tea and even hot chocolate are the cure. I read of a woman whose dementia was reversed by folic acid supplements. I read of one doctor who suggests that you should eat up six to ten eggs a day. (Unless you’re allergic to eggs like me.)

There are claims that Alzheimer’s is caused by Lyme’s Disease or obesity or artificial sweetener. Just stay out of the woods, lose a few pounds, quit drinking the Diet Coke.

Sadly, there is no cure-all for dementia.

A Place for Mom debunks many of these myths saying, “the cause of Alzheimer’s seems to be more about genetics than lifestyle factors, so the benefits to be gained through healthy eating may be limited.”

So, should we just eat, drink, and be happy?


But choose wisely. No one can predict if you will fall prey to this disease. Or any disease for that matter. Eating healthy will not save your life but it may enhance your life. And therefore, increase your happiness.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s philosophy is, “What’s good for your heart is good for your head.”

So, what’s good for your heart?


Daniele Pellati

This beautiful little fruit contains a substance called fisetin. By the way, Fisetin is being marketed as a “memory enhancer.”

The  Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation says, “ Fisetin is naturally found at very low levels in some plants, fruits and vegetables.  Some cell and animal studies suggest that fisetin may protect brain cells from damage.”


The same group reports that a “diet rich in fish can support long-term brain health” but that
supplements rarely provide the same benefits as a balanced, whole-food diet.”

salmon-with-green-onionhelen barth villareal


Neurology onlinehot-sun-1401907460JHnDawn Hudson has concluded that a “vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease.”



Just plain ol’ common sense. Eat your fruits and vegetables, don’t fear the fish, play outside. Same things our mothers and grandmothers told us.

Which begs the issue: if that’s what they told us, then why are they succumbing to this disease?

Today’s poem

 Where is the truth?

In an egg? Organic?
A pill? An herb?
(Will it make us more sick?)

Is Monsanto to blame?
Genetically altering all our brains?

What is the answer to this disease?
Does anyone have the answer?
Anyone? . . . Please?


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