FINDING A PRACTITIONER
The best way to find practitioners who can help with the reversible causes of dementia is to first become an educated patient. Start by reading this website to get a clear overview of the issues. You may then choose to print out the questionnaire entitled What is My Risk, Questionnaire? When you have filled out the questionnaire, you will likely have a better idea about which causes to explore first, and what kind of practitioner to seek out. You can also share the questionnaire at your first appointment.
Understand, though, that not even the most competent physician can be a top expert in testing and treating all 10 reversible causes. It’s still important to do your own homework to understand what expertise and services you can reasonably expect from each professional. You may need to find more than one practitioner to cover all reversible causes. Specifically, you may want to:
- Thoroughly read their website and any printed materials.
- Call the office manager with any questions about their services, policies, and practices, and of course, about insurance and costs. Many of these doctors take insurance, and many don’t. Depending upon where you live and the type of practitioner you are seeking, you may have a wide choice or a very limited one.
- To determine if you’ve found the right professional, schedule an initial consultation (in-person when possible) to see if he or she is the right doctor for you or your loved one. You want to work with someone who speaks so you can understand them, and who treats you with consideration and respect.
Most traditionally educated medical doctors (MD) and dentists (DDS and DMD) have not been trained in treating most of the causes of dementia SAN has identified so far. Medical and dental curriculums don’t offer many hours on topics such as nutrition, heavy metals detoxification, hormone testing and treatment, stress management, gerontology (study of the elderly), or certain infections and toxicities (e.g., Lyme Disease, and mold toxicities).
For this reason, you may need to go outside traditional categories of healthcare to find either MDs who have followed up their medical studies and residency with post-doctoral work in alternative or integrative approaches, or physicians who chose to study a combination of traditional and alternative approaches from the start, such as Naturopathic doctors. There are still other categories of medicine well-known in other parts of the world that are recognized, long-established, and highly respected such as Homeopathy. Licensure varies by state.
Here is a complete list of the types of practitioners who may be able to help:
- Alternative, Integrative, and Functional Medicine doctors – These physicians have usually received post-graduate training in some or most of the causative factors for dementia. They usually have a “holistic perspective,” meaning they look at body as a whole instead of as a collection of discrete individual parts. Doctors who complete certification through the Institute for Functional Medicine have extensive training in seeing the body as a set of systems, and cross-reference clinical, intake, and observational information to identify likely causes of symptoms.
- Naturopathic Doctors –Naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic and proactive prevention and strives to use natural treatments first. Naturopathic doctors are trained in both traditional and alternative medicine and are licensed only in certain states. However, a doctor with another medical license, such as acupuncture, may practice naturopathic medicine in a state that doesn’t license naturopaths.
- Homeopathic doctor – In the US, to practice as a homeopathic doctor, one must receive extensive homeopathic training and be a licensed healthcare professional. Homeopathy is a form of treatment that involves giving the patient minute amounts of what they are sensitive to in order to evoke a proper immune or healing response from the entire body system. Homeopathic doctors are highly regarded in parts of Europe, especially England and Germany.
- Chiropractor – Chiropractors are best known for treating the body’s skeletal system, but many have ventured into nutrition and other forms of alternative medicine and do heavy metals testing and other treatments.
- Osteopath – Osteopaths are medical professionals who have the same privileges and pharmacological training as MDs. They may use hands-on techniques to help alleviate pain, restore motion, and support the body’s own ability to heal.
- Dentist specializing in sleep medicine – A small number of dentists specialize in dental sleep medicine, which treats airway constriction and obstruction. Such obstructions cause oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) and disrupt sleep architecture, which interrupts natural detoxification processes that are imperative for healthy brain function.
Dentist specializing in mercury removal is also referred to as “mercury-safe,” which means they are trained in protocols to safely remove silver (mercury) amalgam fillings. These protocols involve the use of a rubber dam, protective clothing, high-speed suction, and independent air supply for the patient. Be aware that a mercury-free dentist is not necessarily trained in safe mercury removal.
WEBSITES FOR FINDING HOLISTIC PHYSICIANS
In the absence of a trusted personal referral, the next best sources of information on holistic practitioners are websites of the associations to which they belong.
The websites listed below have interactive databases that list member physicians and where they practice. Simply enter your zip code and the number of miles you are willing to travel from your home, and they will tell you which of their members practice in the area.
We suggest you visit several association websites, as it is impossible just from a listing to tell whether a particular physician is going to supply what you want. Then visit websites for the individual doctors to learn more about their qualifications and specialties (if any).
You may also want to search online for reviews about the doctor on sites such as healthgrades.com, vitals.com, and others. If you have questions, call the doctor’s office. You can learn a lot about a practice by who picks up the phone and how helpful they are.
AAPMD stands for the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry. Scroll down on the home page until you see “Click to find a Professional.” This website directs you to a practitioner who can treat sleep apnea, snoring, and other issues which block oxygen from getting to the brain.
ACAM stands for the American College for Advancement in Medicine, whose members are primarily alternative and integrative physicians. Under “Practice Resources” you will see “Find A Provider” with Physician Link. Click on it and enter your information there. Go to the practitioners’ websites to learn more about them and their practices.
This is the website for the Institute for Functional Medicine. “Find a practitioner” is in the upper right hand corner. There are 2 types of certification: IFM Certified Practitioner and AFMCP; the IFM CP designates the holder as having more training. Check to see how long they have had the certifications and what their specialties are.
IAOMT stands for the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. Click on the heading “For Patients”, and then go to “Search for an IAOMT Dentist/Physician” who can check you for mercury amalgam fillings and perform the required procedures. Go to the far right column and enter your information, including a specialty, if appropriate. The dentists who come up may be accredited by the IAOMT or not. Go to the websites to learn more about them and their practices.
This is the website for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Click on “Find A Doctor” in their menu bar across the top and enter your information. Most of the doctors have their specialties listed on the right side. Go to the practitioner’s website to learn more about them and their practice.
This is the American Academy of Osteopathy. Click on “Find a Physician” on the menu bar. When the page comes up, click on “Search for a Physician.” Names will come up with specialties listed below the address. Go to the doctor’s website to learn more.