Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating mental deteriorations in our society with nearly 30 million people worldwide suffering from Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
Scientists are continually researching ways to slow down the deterioration process or reversing it altogether in the effort to help those affected by the disease – both sufferers and their loved ones. One team of scientists may have found an effective way to minimise and even reverse the signs of severe memory loss. The treatment involved a 36-point therapeutic, personalised plan carried out in ten patients who suffered from signs of dementia and mainly concentrated on medication, dietary changes, vitamin supplements, brain stimulation, and exercise aimed at changing brain chemistry. The results from the study were astonishing with several patients actually showing signs of reversed dementia.
What The Treatment Involved
Up until now there has been no real significant treatment for Alzheimer’s and the disease is commonly controlled using medications that help slow down the progression of memory loss and confusion – but only for a limited time.
The team from UCLA and the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, and led by Dr. Dale Bredesen, decided to see if they could focus on a small study looking at lifestyle changes. This kind of treatment had already been successfully used in other chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and HIV suggesting that a broader-based therapeutic approach may be more effective in treating Alzheimer’s.
They approached ten people who had been diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s or a precursor to the disease, such as various cognitive impairments, and enrolled them in an extensive 36-point programme aimed at diet, exercise, medication, sleep optimisation, and brain stimulation. Each participant had their own individually personalised plan that was followed for a 5 to 24 month period.
The results from this research were astounding. Not only did it reverse the dementia itself but the reversing process was able to be sustained leading to a major breakthrough in the potential diagnosis and treatment of the degenerative disease.
Despite the study being relatively small, the results are significant because the patients involved in the treatment carried at least one copy of a gene called APOE4 which is found in around 65 percent of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers. Up until now, doctors have avoided letting people know if they are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease because there was no way of preventing it. However, with these new results it seems it is possible to treat and even prevent the disease from developing altogether.
Results In Individual Patients
To show how effective the treatment was, one participant – a man in his 60s – followed his personalised treatment for 10 months. He was suffering from severe effects of Alzheimer’s and part of his brain had shrunk to a volume at the 17th percentile for his age group. After his treatment, an MRI scan showed that this had increased to the 75th percentile – a major result that improved his cognitive abilities. In other words, his absolute brain volume increased by 12 percent.
Another patient, also in his 60s, was at the point of giving up his business after 11 years of progressive memory loss and his ability to partake in sufficient daily routines was severely affected. In fact, his long-term memory was at the 3rd percentile for his age. However, after only 6 months on the new treatment, his memory improved so much that his ability to remember work schedules and people’s faces allowed him to carry on running his business. After continuing the treatment to 22 months, he had regained so much of his lost memory that he was now back to the 84th percentile for his age group.
This will be the news all those who’s loved ones suffer from this mind and soul-destroying disease have been waiting for. The results are so promising that larger studies are in place to research the effects even further – giving hope for millions of people around the world.