Healing Communities and the Self-Care Multiplier
During the past few years there is striking scientific evidence of a “Strategic Triangle” of Diabetes 2 and 3 (the latter involving the hippocampus or memory center of the brain), cardiovascular illnesses, and Alzheimer’s. Indeed, the main pathologies of Alzheimer’s—senile plaque, inflammation, build-up of amyloid precursor protein, mitochondrial dysfunction, Tau particles, and advanced glycated end products leading to hyperglycemia—are all present in Diabetes 2 & 3 and many cardiovascular diseases, so much so to suggest the former two main killer diseases may be precursors, even enablers of the third.
This discovery opens the remarkable possibility for the first time of early detection and prevention of Alzheimer’s by more effective Self-Care strategies focused on Diabetes 2 and 3 and cardiovascular illnesses. Moreover, we have well established and reliable metrics to determine the efficacy of proactive strategies to detect, manage, and even reverse the first two, whereas we still do not have a safe, reliable, non-intrusive, and affordable biomarker for Alzheimer’s.
We also have strong data based on studies of centenarians in so-called Blue Longevity Zones in Ikaria, Greece, the Barbargia region of Sardinia, villages in Okinawa, Loma Linda, California, and the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. In all these communities, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s are almost non-existent. All of these Blue Zones communities display a common cluster of essential characteristics that can underpin a Self-Care program, including:
- Strong sense of community supported by love (moai groups in Okinawa)
- Healthy diet (largely veterinarian, heavy on black beans, fruits, and vegetables)
- Regular exercise (i.e. movement)Various forms of meditation, including walking
- Absence of heavy stress
- Play and leisure
- Happiness, and
As noted in other blogs in this series, play and leisure, kindness, generosity, and other measures that build Integral Resilience all strongly support parasympathetic engagement of the autonomic nervous system, which correlates with the body’s production of high levels of oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and enhanced vagal tone, and a correspondent reduction in cortisol, adrenalin, epinephrine, and noradrenaline, that are closely associated with inflammation. High parasympathetic engagement is increasingly recognized within both the established and alternative medical communities as an essential element in the body’s own self-healing capacity.
What key insights can we draw from Blue Zone studies for communities or organizations that are deeply immersed in the noise and busyness of the modern world? Focus on life-affirming behaviors that will build Integral Resilience in the Strategic Triangle. Measure the results based on standardized medical tests for blood pressure, hyperglycemia, eye exams (that can track vascular and mitochondrial changes associated with the Strategic Triangle), and steady development of your Integral Resilience Quotient (IRQ), which correlates closely with the resilience protocols of the American Psychological Association. Empower Yourself and Others to Pay Forward what you discover.
In next blog in this Five Minutes to Resilience™ series we will describe how this simple health literacy program, embodied in an app, can be rapidly multiplied and scaled across pilot local communities, linking an entire country through a Self-Care Multiplier Exchange.
Scientific References: (please click links below)
- Alzheimer’s disease and Resilience
- Diabetes and Resilience
- Cardiovascular disease and Resilience
- Diabetes/Alzheimer’s connection 1
- Diabetes/Alzheimer’s connection 2
- Diabetes/Alzheimer’s connection 3
- Cardiovascular/Alzheimer’s connection
- Inflammation and Alzheimer’s connection 1
- Inflammation and Alzheimer’s connection 2
- Autism/Alzheimer’s connection
- Resilience Protocol of the American Psychological Association
General—Lissa Rankin, MD, Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (2014) (on the biochemistry of placebo/healing role of the parasympathetic nervous system)
©Copyright May 2019, Julian Gresser /Big Heart Technologies/Steven Hoyt, San Ysidro Pharmacy All Rights Reserved