Improving Health Outcomes for a Vulnerable Population on Veterans Day
By John Q. Walker, Ph.D
Despite our annual expressions of gratitude to our veterans for all they’ve sacrificed, we fall short when it comes to their health and well-being. In addition to cancer, diabetes, and mental-health disorders, veterans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and other forms of dementia at high rates.
Veterans currently under a physician’s care need a comprehensive workup and a care plan that addresses the factors that drive the progression of AD. Fortunately, the multiple risk factors that impact veterans’ cognitive health can be readily identified and mitigated with RestoreU from uMETHOD Health. The uMETHOD approach uses patented artificial intelligence (AI) to assess these risk factors for AD:
- Infections and inflammation, which accelerate cognitive decline.
- Hearing loss, caused by proximity to explosions, and exacerbated by taking medications that are known to be ototoxic.
- Chronic stress. Far too many veterans are unhoused or unemployed.
- Poor sleep. Restful sleep is essential for brain health.
- Chronic pain from injuries, accompanied by the excess load of medications containing opioids.
- Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Most patients who are in the midst of cognitive impairment also have three or more such diseases, which require careful management.
- “Brain fog,” which is technically known as anticholinergic cognitive burden (ACB), often caused by medication. ACB not only masks cognitive impairment, but has also been shown to accelerate it.
- Exposure to environmental toxins, including defoliants, pesticides, heavy metals, and air pollution.
- Head trauma, often from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depression is considered a risk factor for AD. Even the mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) that commonly occur during modern combat have been shown in multiple studies to cause or exacerbate both depression and PTSD. At least 17% of recent veterans now experience PTSD symptoms, and it’s estimated that Vietnam veterans have a 20–30% chance of suffering from PTSD over the course of their lives—another risk factor for dementia. 
These are a subset of the factors that are well-understood to lead to cognitive impairment and AD. Discussing, much less treating, all of these risk factors during a single office visit is beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced and skilled practitioner. RestoreU from uMETHOD Health offers evidence-based treatments aimed at lowering AD risk. Each care plan is developed using a patient’s health data paired with recent lab results.
In the hands of a trusted physician, a RestoreU care plan is a powerful tool to help the patient work to change the modifiable risk factors that can drive AD progression.
Each uMETHOD RestoreU care plan is as unique as each patient. Recommended treatments can commence immediately; there’s no need to wait for imaging to confirm the diagnosis. Additional testing can occur as the patient proceeds with the care plan, preserving cognitive function and improving the patient’s overall health.
We owe our veterans more than our gratitude and a free meal once a year. Find out more about RestoreU from uMETHOD Health, and consider whether a subscription would benefit your patients.
1. Zhu, Carolyn W and Mary Sano. “Demographic, Health, and Exposure Risks Associated with Cognitive Loss, Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias in US Military Veterans.” Front Psychiatry 2021; 12: 610334.