The Denial of Cerebroactive
Drugs and Nutrients

espite the growing importance in the European market place, until recently the category of "cerebroactive" drugs and nutrients has hardly been mentioned in reference pharmacology and therapeutic textbooks. Yet many elderly people who could benefit from this type of remedy have continually had their problems classified as ill-defined, imprecise syndromes. Lack of medical and scientific agreement has hindered and often halted research. Perceptive medical diagnosis has been disabled through insufficient support. It is not possible to properly assess and sufficiently treat age-related cognitive impairment when the term has not even been defined.

Attempts to establish sound, methodical guidelines for assessing the appropriate use of  "cerebroactive" drugs and nutrients have been thwarted by the refusal of certain political entities to recognize scientific literature that they have not pre-approved as "valid" research. Thus, the usual entry points to treatments of cognitive problems are the thick, impounded doors of reactive emergency-room medicine. There, "alternative" or complementary treatment is denied.

In this country, rescue medicine is the norm but is inappropriate treatment for the problems of the elderly with cognitive decline.

No doubt this emergency door to treatment has an important place. It is in fact where conventional medicine shines. However, "emergency room" considerations pay little heed to preventive measures and treatment is resigned to the general problems of stroke, dementia, and the "common symptoms" of the elderly, which unfortunately are considered "normal" and undeserving of treatment. Understandably so, many aging individuals are frustrated by the walls of the "impenetrable" knowledge surrounding brain health. This is maddening. Conventional medicine has made it a policy to ignore requests for alternative information - any information! - especially during follow-up emergencies, when paternalism ("your Doctor knows best") is infuriatingly common. Thus, the elderly are deprived of accessing the knowledge of cerebroactive-preventive medicine.

Center stage in the theater of cerebroactive-preventive nutrients and herbs are items like DMAE, phosphatidylserine, acetyl L-carnitine, vinpocetine, choline, phenylalanine, arginine, and now citicoline. These supplements are sanctioned for many other health purposes as well, and are generally considered very safe for everyday use. Used regularly, they can help maintain and support proper brain structure and function. While their primary role is preventive, they can cross the border into recuperative and restorative functions. Also of value are cerebroactive drugs such as hydergine, bromocriptine, deprenyl, and others that are also quite safe. However and unfortunately, they are not as readily available as the nutrients and herbs.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it signaled not only a turning point for politics but its demise. The major reason for the fall of the Wall was the triumph of access to information via the ascendency of the personal computer and modern communications as sources of political, social, and scientific knowledge. These new and exciting pipelines to primary knowledge about health are apparently not yet accepted by conventional medicine, but such information can be found in assimilated form in the pages of Life Enhancement Magazine or in raw form at just the touch of a button on your computer.

Still, however, there is much work to be done. The intelligent use of natural compounds, like citicoline, can hasten the day when we no longer have to depend on information czars claiming monopolies on truth. These oracles include bureaucrats of the FDA, other government "health" agencies, and old-guard organizations such as the AMA and NIH.

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