Empowering seekers of knowledge in the subject of brain health and cognitive resiliency to become curious citizen scientists, learning together how to optimize our Brain-Body-Health and prevent dementia.
About Dr. Lacy
Initially educated as a nurse, which grounded me in a bio-psycho-social-cultural understanding of health and illness, I later went on to obtain my medical degree and specialize in psychiatry. Interested in brain disorders, I was drawn to the interaction between genetic and epigenetic phenomena, previously coined nature verse nurture influences. With the advent of the neural plasticity theory, science posited the possibility that we could alter our genes through certain “nurturing” practices. With this discovery, I began to delve into genetic testing looking initially at how medicines were metabolized. Later when both my parents were diagnosed with dementia I kept hearing from providers, “there is nothing you can do...you are grasping at straws”. After combing the research literature, attended numerous conferences, reading and listening to podcasts, I discovered there were many things to do to reduce dementia and prevent it. That was an “AH HA” moment and I began shifting my psychiatry practice to an integrated model with an emphasis on optimizing brain health and preventing cognitive decline.
One cannot talk about cognitive health and dementia prevention without talking about it’s genetic and epigenetic influences. Testing for the APOE4 is an integral component for any brain health evaluation. The APOE4 gene is estimated to be involved in 1700 interactions in the body. In our family, we have a preponderance of Alzheimer’s Disease and I was convinced that genes played a role. Our family decided to get tested for the APOE4 gene. This was not recommended by any of the physicians we worked with. Matter of fact we were discouraged from getting tested. Most doctors have little training in genetics and most people including doctors are afraid of the APOE4 gene, because they know very little about it. The APOE4 gene is called, “the Alzheimer’s gene”, but in reality, it is a gene that can cause disorders including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and place people at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Science is providing us more information about the APOE4 gene. Because our family was kept in the dark about the importance of this gene, I feel a need to educate the public about the importance of obtaining testing for this gene and other genes we know that increase risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. That is what has happened to me. I no longer fear this gene or the disease of Alzheimer's. I want to know more about it and I want to inform others of what I know.
What turns on and off genes and what influences this mitigating phenomenon is of great interest to all involved in neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Every day there are more discoveries about the possibilities we can initiate to reduce the impact of these diseases. Examples of these are seen throughout this website. (see Dr. Bredesen's program and the APOE4 gene resource site)
Most all members of my immediate family carry the APOE4 gene, including me. Understanding the importance of testing cannot be overemphasized since your health and lifestyle are intrinsically linked to your genes and lifestyle factors that influence those genes. I have tested persons as young as 25 and as old as 85, providing genetic counseling and appropriate treatment and follow-up with a focus on the APOE4 gene. Phase 1 of the Brain-Body-Health Program involves genetic and cognitive testing, history, physical and laboratory work. I enjoy speaking about the subject of cognitive resiliency and dementia prevention. You can listen to examples of talks under brain health events at the top of the website.
Whether you are looking at this website because you are worried about your memory or the memory of a loved one, it is time to move into action. After all, age is the #1 risk factor for dementia. That is why we need to get educated and get started with preventing this disease before it begins. Together we are learning what works best to protect and nourish our Brain-Body-Health.
To our best health,
More on Dr. Lacy's APOE4 family story: https://www.statnews.com/2017/08/22/alzheimers-apoe4-risk/
View Dr. Lacy's CV
About Urmila Joi Sandhu
Urmila Joi Sandhu is an Integrative Medicine Health Coach, a Functional Medicine Practitioner and a Physician Assistant. She spent 13 years working in the conventional medical specialties of general practice, addiction medicine, and gastroenterology and 2 years practicing cannabis medicine. With the discovery of Functional Medicine came a new and profound enthusiasm. She is passionate about supporting people to live fulfilled, resilient and healthy lives in accordance with nature and in total reverence for all living things.
View Joi's CV