Memory Loss Associated with Alzheimer’s Reversed for the First Time
Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that affects the memory that is supposedly incurable. Now a revolutionary discovery has been made that has reversed Alzheimer’s disease
First patient: She had 2 years of progressive memory loss. She was considering quitting her job, which involved analyzing data and writing reports, she got disoriented while driving, and she mixed up the names of her pets.
Second patient: He kept forgetting a once-familiar faces at work, forgot his gym locker combination and had to have his assistants constantly remind him of his work schedule.
Third patient: Her memory was so bad that she used an iPad to record everything, then forgot her password. Her children noticed she commonly lost her train of thought in mid-sentence, and often asked them if they had carried out the tasks that she mistakenly thought she had asked them to do.
Alzheimer’s has been diagnosed without treatment for over 100 years. But, that has finally changed. There was a study that consisted of 10 participants, including the patients described above. The patients have displayed subjective or objective improvement in their memories beginning within three to six months.
6 patients quit their jobs or they had been struggling with their jobs at the time they joined the study; all were able to return to their jobs or continue working with improved performance, and their improvements have been sustained. Out of the 10 patients with memory loss that was associated with Alzheimer’s disease, amnestic mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive impairment. One patient had been diagnosed with late-stage Alzheimer’s didn’t improve.
Dr. Dale Bredesen of the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Reasearch and the Buck Institute for Reasearch on Aging conducted the study. This was the first research to suggest that memory loss in patients ay be reversed – and improvement sustained – using a complex, 36-point therapeutic program involves comprehensive diet changes, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep optimization, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple additional steps that affect brain chemistry.
The findings from the study are very encouraging, the results are anecdotal, and more extensive, with the need for controlled clinical trial. Not a single drug has been found that stops or can even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and drugs have only had slight effects on the symptoms. “That suggested that a broader-based therapeutic approach, rather than a single drug that aims at a single target, may be feasible and potentially more effective for the treatment of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s,” Bredesen said.
It is possible that addressing multiple targets within the network underlying Alzheimer’s may be successful even when the target is affected in a relatively modest way. However, the uniform failure of drug trials in Alzheimer’s influenced Bredesen’s desire to better understand the fundamental nature of the disease. His lab found evidence that Alzheimer’s stems from an imbalance in nerve cell signaling. The normal brain-specific signals foster nerve connections and memory making, while balancing signals support memory loss, which allows irrelevant information to be forgotten. But in Alzheimer’s patients, the balance of these opposing signals is disturbed, nerve connections are suppressed and memories are lost.
“The existing Alzheimer’s drugs affect a single target, but Alzheimer’s disease is more complex. Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well,” he said. “The drug may have worked, and a single hole may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much.”
In the patient who had a demanding job and lost her way home; her therapy consisted of:
-Eliminating all simple carbs, gluten, and processed foods from the diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish.
-Meditating twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
-Sleeping seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
-Taking melatonin, methylcobalamin, vitamin D3, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 each day
-Optimizing oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
-Reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
-Fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
-Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week
Bredesen said the program’s downsides are its complexity and the burden falls on patients and caregivers to follow. But, in the study, none of the patients were able to stick to the entire protocol. The most common complaint among patients was the diet and lifestyle changes, and having to take multiple pills every day.
“It is noteworthy that the major side effects of this therapeutic system are improved health and an improved body mass index, a stark contrast to the side effects of many drugs.” The results Bredesen found suggest that memory loss can be reversed and improvement sustained with the therapeutic program, but she cautioned that the results need to be replicated.
“The current, anecdotal results require a larger trial, not only to confirm or refute the results reported here, but also to address key questions raised, such as the degree of improvement that can be achieved routinely, how late in the course of cognitive decline reversal can be affected, whether such an approach may be effective in patients with familial Alzheimer’s disease, and last, how long improvement can be sustained,” he said.
The cognitive decline is a major concern for the aging population. Alzheimer’s affects 5.4 million Americans and 30 million people globally. An estimated 160 million people globally will have the disease by 2050, including 13 million Americans, which could potentially bankrupt the Medicare system. Alzheimer’s has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind cardiovascular disease and cancer.