A small but potentially significant study sheds a new light on the dire prospects of Alzheimer's disease. The research only involved 10 participants with Alzheimer's disease but nine of them showed recovery from some memory loss.
Regaining any ground from Alzheimer's has been believed to be impossible before this research was performed.At present, all Alzheimer's drugs have been unable to slow, let alone stop, its progression. Symptoms are at best only partially subdued.
Six of the patients in the study had been having problems at work, and some had found it necessary to quit their jobs because of Alzheimer's symptoms. Memory began to improve three to six months after the study commenced and they were able to handle their jobs unimpeded by symptoms.
Two and a half years after the initial treatment, all improvements have continued.
One patient in late stage Alzheimer's disease did not improve. Those who did regain memory had been suffering from memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) or subjective cognitive impairment (SCI).
The study was performed by the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
Never before has memory loss been reversed and the reversal sustained. Dale Bredesen, the Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology and Director of the Easton Center at UCLA, a professor at the Buck Institute, and the author of the paper, is encouraged with the results.
He cautioned however, that "at the current time the results are anecdotal, and therefore a more extensive, controlled clinical trial is warranted." Bredesen's statement was reported in an article on Sciencedaily.com.
The research found that AD involves an imbalance in the signalling of nerve cells. The imbalance causes nerve connections to be suppressed, and memories disappear. This is quite different from the contemporary stance that Alzheimer's disease results from sticky plaques accumulating in the brain.
Bredesen's approach was similar to that which is taken with other chronic illnesses, and has several components to it. The components of the system were not all always used, depending on the circumstances of the individual patient. Possible components included:
- Avoiding simple carbohydrates
- Avoiding gluten and processed foods
- Increasing produced and non-farmed fish
- Yoga to reduce stress
- Meditation 20 minutes at a time, twice a day
- Melatonin at night
- More sleep at night
- Methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B12)
- Vitamin D3
- Fish oil
- Improved oral hygiene with electric toothbrush and flosser
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Increased exercise
Such lifestyle changes are not as simple as swallowing a pill but the lack of negative side effects such as Alzheimer's drugs can cause, is a great benefit.
To get unheard of results like this is quite exciting. Much more research though is needed, and needed badly.
Alzheimer's disease is a looming time bomb. It already affects more than 5 million Americans, and 30 million people around the world. If the trend continues unhindered, by 2050 we could have 160 million people with AD, 13 million of them American. The Medicare system would almost surely buckle under the burden.
AD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, after cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Memory loss associated with Alzheimer's reversed: Small trial succeeds using systems approach to memory disorders. Sciencedaily.com. Retrieved Oct. 1, 2014.
Alzheimer's Disease. NLM.NIH.gov.Retrieved Oct. 1, 2014.
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet. NIA.NIH.gov.Retrieved Oct. 1, 2014.
Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca
Reviewed October 2, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN