Cognitive Decline

Inflammation and Cognitive Decline

Today we’re going to talk about brain inflammation, cognitive decline, your brain and your patients’ brains and we’ll talk about my brain. Scary stuff here. Plus we’ll talk about ALS and concussion. What’s the research saying?

But first, here’s that “hell yeah”  bumper music

Chiropractic evidence-based products
Integrating Chiropractors
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OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have stuttered into Episode #66


We’re here to advocate for chiropractic while we also make your life easier.  


Part of that is having the right patient education tools in your office. Tools that educate based on solid, researched information. We offer you that. It’s done for you. We are taking pre-orders right now for our brand new, evidence-based office brochures available at Just click the STORE link at the top right of the home page and you’ll be off and running. Just shoot me an email at if something is out of sorts or isn’t working correctly. 

If you’re like me, you get tired of answering the same old questions. Well, these brochures make great ways of educating while saving yourself time and breath. They’re also great for putting in take-home folders. 

Go check them out at under the store link


Let’s talk a bit about the DACO program which is the Dipolomate of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists. Still trucking along and hauling a big load of knowledge nuggets in my big 18-wheeter trailer. I don’t know where that came from. 

Recent classes for me have been Managing preganncy-related SI pain, diagnosing thoracic facet joint pain, managing Scheuermann’s disease, and diagnosing merlagia paraesthetica. 

I have told you before that I’m no guru. I learn all the time because I clearly don’t know it all. I have no problem admitting that I’m not, nor have never been, particularly knowledgable on meralgia paraesthetica. I am crapping you negative, folks, when I tell you that the very day after I had the drill on it, it shows up in my office. I swear, unbelievable. 

I’m not above admitting that I’ve been missing it for all these years. It hurts me a bit to admit but facts are facts and if I’m not honest with you, well then, what’s the point in all of this anyway?

If I can get you pointed in the right direction to get started with the DACO, shoot me an email at I’m happy to help. I get nothing out of it. No discounts on hours, no special considerations, nothing. I just think it’s that important. 

Personal Happenings

Front desk hunt….still a go. Still no rock star. Still not settling. There’s your update. 

Item #1

On with it. This one is called “Systemic inflammation during midlife and cognitive change over 20 years: The ARIC Study.” It was authored by KA Walker, RF Gottesman, DS Knopman, and a slew of rascally cohorts(Walker KA 2019). It was published in Nuerology in February of 2019. Hot stuff….comin’ through. Brand new people. 

Why They Did It

They wanted to examine the associaiton between systemic inflammation measured during midlife and 20-year cognitive decline. 

You know speaking of cognitive decline……..what the hell was I saying? Why did I even come into this room? : )

Anyway, here’s how they did it

This is REALLY dumbing it down a bit for the purpose of brevity but, within the atherosclerosis risk in communities cohort study, inflammatory biomarkers were measured during middle adulthood. they worked some math magic using the biomarkers, creactive protein, and cognition periodically over 20 years. 

12,336 participants

What They Found

Participants with a midlife inflammation composite score in the top quartile had a 7.8% steeper cognitive decline, compared to participants in the lowest quartile; CRP in the top quartile was associated with an 11.6% steeper cognitive decline. In cognitive domain-specific analyses, elevated midlife inflammatory markers were most consistently associated with declines in memory.

Wrapping It Up

The authors concluded, “Our findings highlight what may be an early pathogenic role for systemic inflammation as a driver of cognitive decline in the decades leading up to older adulthood.”

The weirdest thing. As soon as I went over this article, I went home that night and opened up the lates version of Chiropractic Economics magazine. It’s issue 3: February 22, 2019. 

Anyway, there’s an article in there on this exact very thing because my mind is creepy like that. Seriously, you might do this too but, I can think of a patient I haven’t seen in a little while and Bazinga….that week or the next they show up in my office staring me in the face in live real life and it freaks me out every time to know I have gravitational mind powers like that. Lol. 

Evidently my gravitational mind powers work in the information world as well because that’s the way it happened my friends. 

Now, there was all kinds of research citations present in this article but I did not look them up. I don’t know the quality of them. I just don’t have the time but, in short, if we want to decrease the kind of inflammation we see for cognitive decline, the kind in the paper we just talked about, then we need to look at making sure we have good levels of Curcumin/turmeric as well as good serum levels of vitamin D. 

They say the curcumin plays a role in regenerating neurons, creating new brain cells (lord knows I need that), and refreshing cells that may have once been considered irretrievable. So, all the damage I did in young adulthood….maybe there’s some hope after all. 

And are you realizing all of the information that has come out about Vitamin D in the last several years? There is also data refuting the use of ANY supplement but, knowing there’s no harm in a Vitamin D supplement, why WOULDN’T you consider taking it regularly? Worst case scenario, you lost a very minimal amount on a supplement that did nothing. 

Best case, you’re near superhero level. 

Item #2

Continuing with our brain stuff this week, here is item #2 titled, “Contact Sports as a Risk Factor for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Systematic Review” authored by R Blecher, MA Elliott, E Yilmaz and a plethora of associates(Blecher RA 2019). It waspublished in Global Spine Journal in February 2019 because the new stuff makes the folks tickle. And why not? I love information but there’s just something warm and fuzzy about  NEW informaiton isn’t there?

Why They Did It

They say that environmental factors for ALS have remained largely unknown and recent evidence suggests that participation in certain types of sporting activities are….not may be….but ARE associated with increased risk for ALS. They wanted to test the hypothesis that competitive sports at the highest level that involve repetitive concussive head and cervical spinal trauma result in an increased risk of ALS.

How They Did It

They searched electronic databases adn reference lists of key articles from inception to November 22, 2017.

They used 16 studies fitting the criteria for inclusion. 

The sports they looked at were of course, American football, basketball, cycling, triathlon, and skating. I’m wondering where hockey or rugby is in the mix. 

What They Found

I hate to say it but here’s what they found, “Our review suggests that increased susceptibility to ALS is significantly and independently associated with 2 factors: professional sports and sports prone to repetitive concussive head and cervical spinal trauma. Their combination resulted in an additive effect, further increasing this association to ALS.”

While we love our sports and we hate seeing the sissy-fication of the world in general, we also don’t want people to knowingly and purposefully put themselves in danger like this. 

Certainly not our children. We have to pay attention to this stuff. 

I played from 3rd grade up into college and only had my bell rung one time but I’m thinking I’m the exception, not the rule. I was always taller and bigger than most of the others on teh field so that may be why I escaped. Or at least I think I escaped. I’m 46. I still have time to lose my mind I suppose. 

Anyway, food for thought. 

Chiropractic evidence-based products
Integrating Chiropractors
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The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 


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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger


  • Blecher RA, E. M., Yilmaz E, (2019). “Contact Sports as a Risk Factor for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Systematic Review.” Global Spine J 1: 104-118.
  • Walker KA, G. R., Knopman DS, (2019). “Systemic inflammation during midlife and cognitive change over 20 years: The ARIC Study.” Neurology.

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