Navigating cognitive health needs a personalized approach

Longevity Center’s Dr Dariusz Soldacki discusses tailor-made, high tech approaches to preventing cognitive decline.

As the population ages, there has been a noticeable uptick in individuals proactively seeking measures to stave off cognitive decline. This trend reflects a growing awareness of the significant burden that cognitive impairment poses to individuals, families and healthcare systems worldwide, and also is in line with the realization that as we improve our physical healthspan and longevity, so too must we improve our cognispan if we are to enjoy longer, healthier, happier lives.

The imperative to address cognitive decline is underscored by its profound societal and economic ramifications. With projections estimating a substantial increase in the prevalence of age-related cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the need for effective preventive strategies has never been more urgent.

Longevity.Technology: With advancements in medical science and technology, longevity clinics have emerged as pivotal institutions offering tailored interventions aimed at monitoring and preventing cognitive decline. These clinics use a multidisciplinary approach, integrating medical assessments and diagnostics, cognitive testing, lifestyle modifications and personalized treatment plans to address the complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors contributing to cognitive health.

We sat down with Dr Dariusz Soldacki, Scientific Director at Longevity Center, to find out more about mitigating the personal and societal burdens associated with cognitive decline.

While age-related cognitive decline can seem inevitable, by understanding the drivers at work and nuances of brain function, we can take action to slow deterioration. Dr Soldacki explains that age-related cognitive decline results from many factors, including chronic inflammation, acute inflammation in the head such as sinusitis and blood circulation disorders caused by changes in vessels or heart function.

“Also, insufficient brain stimulation may contribute to a faster weakening of our cognitive abilities,” he says. “By comprehensively using our brain, we increase our cognitive reserve, which we then use throughout our lives, but we can also constantly build it and keep it in the best possible shape at any age. The more we use the functions of our mind, the more efficiently it works.”

Longevity Center, which has clinics in Warsaw and Zurich, believes there is much that can be done to stave off cognitive decline. It analyzes cognitive abilities using validated computer tests, and Soldacki explains that, additionally, the Center assesses the cognitive function and speed of the central and peripheral nervous system using neurocognitive tests based on a device that additionally involves the spinal cord, peripheral nerves and muscles.

“The assessment also uses neurobiofeedback and specialist consultations – psychological and psychiatric,” he says. “We also assess the functioning of the sense of smell, which additionally shows us the risk of developing cognitive disorders in the future. The results of cognitive tests are also analyzed in the context of sleep quality analysis, inflammation in the body and microbiome composition analysis.” 

In addition to using neurocognitive training with neurobiofeedback support, specially developed physical training and computer software, Longevity Center also uses photobiomodulation protocols. 

“We also encourage our clients to stimulate the nervous system by influencing all possible sensors of the nervous system, through sight, hearing, touch, smell, and exposure to extremely low temperatures,” explains Soldacki.

Of course, supplements are a significant part of the longevity landscape, and Longevity Center takes a tailor-made approach.

“Longevity Center Method is based on a preventive and personalized approach, so supplementation is always prepared based on individual needs,” Soldacki explains. “When thinking about supplementation to support cognitive functions, in addition to micro and macro elements and vitamins, we also remember about amino acid supplementation and proper support of the microbiome. Our mind cannot function properly with improperly functioning mitochondria, so improving mitochondrial metabolism also supports brain function.”

A personalized approach is a key factor in choosing a longevity clinic over a regimen found on an influencer’s TikTok or a health magazine. The Longevity Center prides itself on its level of personalization, integrating it into each stage of its program.

“At each stage of preparing the care program, selecting a set of interventions, but also at the stage of health analysis, in addition to the basic set of tests developed by the Longevity Center medical team, everything is selected based on the client’s individual needs,” Soldacki explains. “We look at family history, genetic predispositions, personal goals and expectations, and results from tests performed during the analysis. We believe that there are no perfect universal solutions for everyone, which is why we treat each person individually.”

Longevity.Technology recently spoke to Longevity Center’s Dr Anna Modelska-Ziółkiewicz about gut health and the microbiome. There is increased interest in and research into the gut-brain axis, and this is an area of interest for Dr Soldacki.

“The intestines are a very important place where the correct relationship between the microbiome and the immune system associated with the mucosa (GALT) results in the proper reactivity of our immune system,” he explains, adding that disturbances in the composition of the microbiome can both reduce the effectiveness of the immune system in fighting infections throughout the body and cause excessive inflammation, which accelerates the aging process. 

“But not only aging processes depend on inflammation, the source of which is an abnormal microbiome. The intestines produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for our mood. Excessive inflammation in the intestines also translates into inflammation of brain structures, which may be one of the causes of neurological and psychiatric symptoms,” he explains, adding that abnormalities in the gut and microbiome are also associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

It would be hoped that, as we understand more about the drivers of neurodegeneration, we would see more of a shift towards prevention – but there is still work to be done, as Soldacki explains.

“We all know that prevention is better than cure,” he says. “Even though it is more effective, cheaper, and gives each of us a greater chance of a long and comfortable life, unfortunately we still do too little in this matter. This is one of the key reasons why the Longevity Center was created. Our goal is to work intensively in preventive medicine to ensure that we feel healthy, well-being and joyful at every stage of our lives.”

Photograph courtesy of Longevity Center