1. Common senior meds damage the brain

    How to spot a psycho

    If you want to spot a psycho, don't look for a creep with a hockey mask and an axe. That's just in the movies... or it's a kid in a Halloween costume.

    Out in the real world, some of the biggest psychos of all wear white coats and carry prescription pads they use to dish out the antipsychotic drugs that can damage your brain almost as much as the murderer's axe.

    The axe hits from the outside, while the drugs work from within -- but new research confirms the result is pretty much the same: dead brain cells, and plenty of them.

    Antipsychotic drugs can kill so many brain cells that the inside of your skull will look like the scene of a movie massacre -- and the new 15-year study shows that the more meds you take, the more space you'll need in your brain-cell graveyard.

    The study focused on schizophrenics, but don't let that reassure you -- because every day, millions of Americans are given these drugs off-label for just about every condition you can think of.

    They're given to children for behavioral problems... adults for sleep disorders... and seniors for dementia.

    This, willy-nilly prescribing goes on despite the fact that there's NOT ONE SHRED of science that proves antipsychotic drugs work for any of those conditions. That's why even the American Psychiatric Association is urging its members to think twice before reaching for that axe... er, I mean prescription pad.

    When the pill-pushing hacks at Psychos, Inc. say it's time to cut back, you know you've really crossed a line!

    Brain damage isn't the only risk of these meds. It's not even the biggest risk -- because antipsychotic drugs are linked to weight gain, diabetes and heart problems as well as confusion and memory loss.

    They can even KILL you.

    That's the bad news. The good news? I've got much better, far safer and truly effective answers for all the conditions these drugs are routinely used for -- and you can find many of them right here in the Daily Dose and in my fully searchable online archives.

    And for one-on-one help, seek the advice of a non-psycho such as a member of the American College for Advancement in Medicine.

  2. Revolutionary approach to Alzheimer's

    Treat patients like human beings, and they'll behave like human beings -- no matter how sick they are.

    Stunning? Of course not. But this is what passes for cutting-edge Alzheimer's care these days.

    Care facilities are slowly waking up to the fact that these patients don't need the risky antipsychotic meds usually forced on them, the blaring alarm systems used to prevent them from wandering, or even the diapers these patients are routinely required to wear whether they're incontinent or not.

    All they really need are the same things the rest of us want: A little time, attention, and TLC.

    The facilities that are making the switch from drugs to hugs are seeing remarkable transformations -- so naturally, they're catching hell for it.

    State health officials in Arizona went after the Beatitudes nursing home in Phoenix for offering some patients chocolates instead of meds -- they even threatened a citation, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

    But Beatitudes stood its ground -- insisting that chocolate can be as effective as Xanax.

    The approach is part of a philosophy where the staff will allow Alzheimer's patients just about anything that brings them comfort -- even a sip of booze at night, according to the Times report.

    And the results speak for themselves -- because even patients that have been tossed out of other facilities for poor behavior thrive with little to no medication in Beatitudes.

    One expert told the newspaper that Beatitudes has virtually no sundowning -- the delusions and agitation that many Alzheimer's patients experience in the evening.

    Hmmm... fewer meds, fewer delusions, less agitation, and better behavior. Anyone else see a connection here?

    This stuff should be considered basic -- it should be the starting point for dementia care.

    Instead, it's revolutionary.

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