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Why You Shouldn't Wait to Get Your Cognoscopy:

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Everyone knows to get a colonoscopy when they’re around 45-50 years old for early screening for colon cancer. But what if there was a screening test for neurological disorders and decline?

Unbeknownst to most, there is! In 2014, Dr. Bredesen, an expert in neurodegenerative diseases, created the cognoscopy. This revolutionary protocol analyzes laboratory and cognitive texting to identify contributors to cognitive decline.

While testing for neurodegenerative decline is appropriate at any age, you should begin to consider a cognoscopy around age 40, or even sooner, in order to enact preventative measures if applicable.

Cognoscopy 101:

After decades of studying Alzheimer’s Disorder and other neurodegenerative diseases, Dr. Bredesen determined there are 36 identifiable causes, or “holes”, of neurological decline. Implementing preventative mechanisms to fill up these holes through holistic treatment, can reverse or avert the development of neurological diseases.

Mechanisms to solve the 36 causes include:

Dr. Bredesen recommends all adults 45 years or older should undergo a cognoscopy to ensure proper neurological functioning. For those with a family history of neurological decline or diseases, Bredesen recommends testing earlier and more often.

A cognoscopy will analyze genetic variations that contribute to Alzheimer’s such as the APOE4, cognitive assessments, metabolic, hormonal, and lifestyle factors. The protocol is only three simple steps:

  1. A series of blood tests that pinpoint risk factors for dementia.

    1. The blood tests will look for insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, nutrients, a decrease in trophic support for your brain, and exposure to biotoxins or chemotoxins.

  2. A set of simple cognitive assessments that indicate current areas of concern.

  3. An MRI scan with volumetrics. (This step is only recommended for those who already have cognitive symptoms or scored low enough to suggest cognitive impairments on the assessment)

It is important to note that a cognoscopy does not follow “normal” nutrient or hormone levels. This is because “normal” standards do not signify a lack of risk factors. Rather, Dr. Brederson recommends holding every patient to the same optimal levels as competitive athletes. Many asymptomatic people have 10-25 different contributors, and unless these are addressed early, cognitive impairment may progress.

But the importance of undergoing a cognoscopy goes far beyond neurological decline. A cognoscopy will simultaneously address the following issues:

  • Metabolic issues

  • Inflammation

  • Toxicity

  • Hormone imbalance

  • Gut health

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Cognitive stimulation

  • Lifestyle factors that contribute to the pathology such as poor sleep, lack of exercise, stress, and a high sugar diet.

Essentially, a cognoscopy acts as a more intuitive check-up for both your physical and mental health. But a cognoscopy is currently the only method of identifying risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline.


Once you undergo a cognoscopy, Dr. Johnson will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan based on your unique nutrient levels, cognitive outcome, and genetic factors. In the meantime, if you think you may be suffering from cognitive decline or have a family history of neurodegenerative diseases, there are some preventative measures you can undergo:

  • Stay Active: Exercise is the number one lifestyle habit for increasing brain function. Multiple studies have demonstrated that those who regularly exercise are less likely to experience cognitive decline and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disorder. Researchers speculate this is because physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can reverse some age-related reductions in the brain. You should aim to exercise 30-60 minutes several times per week. Mild to moderate exercise is fine, as long as you stay active!

  • Get Adequate Sleep: Sleep also plays a very vital role in overall brain health. Some researchers speculate that abnormal proteins are cleared and memories are consolidated during sleep. The type of sleep you get also impacts brain health. Aim for 7-8 consecutive hours, not several fragmented hours. Sleeping for longer periods allows the brain to consolidate and properly store your memories.

  • Eat Well: A diverse diet of whole and unprocessed foods, like the Mediterranean Diet, is best for brain health. The Mediterranean diet encompasses lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, and healthy fats. Studies have demonstrated that those who follow the Mediterranean Diet are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disorder than those who eat an American diet full of red meat and salt. This is likely due to the diet’s high omega fatty acid content, which is vital for cell health. Omega fatty acids have also been suggested to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease, increase mental focus, and slow cognitive decline.

  • Stay mentally active: Like a muscle, your brain must continually be challenged or mental ability will be lost. While doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku, reading, are all decent ways to keep your brain in shape, the best way to train your brain to learn something new, like a new language or skill. Incorporating different activities will keep your brain on its toes in a sort of crosstraining. While paid brain-training programs and apps can be adequate, learning something new is more effective in working your brain.

Dr. Johnson has completed the training by Dr. Bredesen and is a certified Bredesen Practitioner. The Johnson Center can provide patients with a cognoscopy and treatment using the Bredesen protocol if needed.

Call today at 276-235-3205 or contact us to schedule your cognoscopy.

The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach / Norfolk locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!