Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TEDx USF Explores Coconut Oil and Alzheimer's

Logo for TEDx USF offers important talks by remarkable people. In this TEDx talk, watch Dr. Mary Newport explore the science of treating Alzheimer's disease with coconut oil. (Sponsored by the University of South Florida)

When Dr. Newport's husband Steven was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, as a Doctor herself, she explored routine treatment options. But when his symptoms became so severe that he was not able to participate in clinical trials, her scientific deductions led to coconut oil, which has led to amazing results.

Mary T. Newport, M.D. grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was educated at Xavier University and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She is board certified in pediatrics and neonatology, training at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, and Medical University Hospital in Charleston, SC. She is founding director of the newborn intensive care unit at Spring Hill Regional Hospital, practicing full-time through All Children's Specialty Physicians and volunteer clinical faculty at University of South Florida. She was also founding director of the neonatal intensive Care unit at Mease Hospital Dunedin.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


  1. Once again all these unfounded claims for coconut oil and dementia/Alzheimer's are coming from sites like this one, Dr. Newport and her book, and Pat Robertson and his Christian Broadcasting Network, all of whom are making $$$ from the traffic and sales this claim generates.
    Given the publicity given to this, tens of thousands of people must have tried coconut oil. Dr. Newport says she's heard from some 200 people who think they've seen some benefit from using this. A tiny response and, given the hopes of the desperate people who have AD or are their caregivers, most of this probably is the placebo effect.

    As I've said before, the Alzheimer's Association summed it up best on this claim:
    "Every day we hear magical claims of products promising relief. Coconut oil, for example, is touted by a physician in Florida as having a miraculous impact on her husband. While the ketones in coconut oil are being widely studied for dementia and are a key ingredient in an FDA-approved food product for memory loss, there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil helps with Alzheimer’s.
    The coconut oil promise has been around for more than three years. If the administration of coconut oil was, indeed, beneficial, it would be shouted from every mountaintop."

    For a review of the scientific evidence (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) see

    I have little respect for people who continue to make money by touting coconut oil and falsely raising the hopes of desperate people.

    1. The April 1 reply says a great many things that I also agree with, so I'll skip over those matters and focus primarily on ethics. The scientists and the doctors have an entirely different set of motivations and ethical requirements than do doomed patients. For doctors, the ethics is "above all else, do no harm" and the motivation is not to get sued why still helping as much as one can. But for a victim of Alzheimer's or some other dementias, the motivation and the ethics are entirely different.

      In my case, I have progressive supranuclear palsy - parkinsonism. I have in theory about 5 years to live, before I die a truly horrible death. Yes, coconut oil may not work, but I don't think I can wait even a year for "research" to be done. In that amount of time, I won't have enough of a mind left to want to save it. So what are my options? 1) Try some things that maybe, might not, possibly be too good for me in the long run, and eat some coconut oil (not very much, just a couple of tablespoons a day or there about) and maybe live long enough to see a cure come down the road. OR 2) Give up and die.

      I'll spend a few bucks on coconut oil, thank you.

    2. Shame on you John! It does work. The problem is that it is not patentable and big Pharma and it's dupes like you are doing all you can to discredit it.

    3. John you are 100% correct! If coconut oil worked it SHOULD be easily proven in formal double blinded studies. FACT: It has not!

      This is not an issue of big pharma suppressing a discovery, would you not think that the coconut oil industry would want a big spike in sales?

      If this 'ALZ spouse' wants to prove it then she should prove it. (an AD family member will always grasp at a cure) As a doctor she knows how to do it, but she has not. Her evidence is purely anecdotal, which is not evidence at all.
      Her conclusion "What have you got to lose" is 100% unscientific and and insult to her profession. Is this how she treats her newborns?

      All her talk about keytone esters and stuff . . . DOES IT CROSS THE BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER? This is the biggest problem in all Dementia cures.

      I also notice that her husband did not appear with her. If he had been 'cured' should he not be speaking with her? If he was 'cured' how long did it last? Where is he today (2014)? These videos are getting very old.

      If you want to see the same life cycle of a failed miracle cure that was meant for cancer search out: "Laetrile" Same story different disease.

  2. To shed some light on the anti-coconut claims below, there is a lot of scientific evidence that ketones (such as those resulting from eating coconut oil) help the brain in many ways. There are a number of studies that show this is also true in dementias such as Alzheimer's. For example, check out the references in the following article:

    There is plenty of room for healthy skepticism, but to be so intensely against coconut oil in light of the science is not only close-minded, but can be unhealthy. Alzheimer's patients take harsh medicines with well-known, serious side effects, even though Consumer Reports say they only help a minority people. If everyone is OK with that, it is hard to understand anti-coconut-oil hysteria. After all, it is a commonly used food in the diet of healthy people. Like most foods, it has its pluses and minuses, but unlike harsh medicine, there is nothing about it that requires special prescriptions from doctors.

    Not only that, the studies that have been done explain how it works and why it should help. This is not some ancient Chinese herb with mysterious properties, but a food that clearly generates ketones that have established positive effects on brain cells. The Ketogenic Diet has been a ketone-generating approved treatment for over 100 YEARS (yes, indeed) for certain brain ailments, though it took over 80 years for it to come into mainstream medicine. That alone is logic enough to think twice before dismissing a coconut oil diet that offers a simpler way to get a good supply of ketones to the brain.

    As for claims that publishers are making money touting coconut oil for Alzheimer's, that is a laugh.


    I personally do not watch the Christian Broadcasting Network that you mention in your comment. Notwithstanding, it takes little imagination to come up with topics that I am sure would do a lot more for their bottom line. If anything is a good argument as to why there may be something real to this claim, it is this: it is so obvious that there is so little money here to motivate anyone to go to the trouble of making false claims.

    From what I can see, coconut oil is a little like tea for a cold: it won't hurt and it might help.

  3. I am the daughter of a recently deceased victim of Alzheimer's. My mother, grandmother, her mother and who knows how many other women on my mother's side passed from dementia. I wish I had known about coconut oil for Mom. I tried everything, dozens of natural modalities as well as the horrible pharmaceuticals in the battle. As a carrier of the same Alleles APOe-3,4, why would I NOT want to try such a simple treatment?

    Especially after reading neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter's excellent book, "Grain Brain" does the argument for increased healthy fats apply to any who are endeavoring to strengthen cognition, lose weight and stop diabetes which is strongly linked to increased incidence of A.D.

    Why not? Plus, it tastes wonderful! God gave it to us. It's not made in a lab so there are no Big Pharma profits. I don't see the argument against it unless you have investments in the pharmaceutical industry. Too bad.


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