Scientists Find A New Treatment for Alzheimer’s

· November 8, 2016
When administered in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and combined with a healthy diet and physical activity, this treatment resulted in a significant improvement in patients’ long-term memory.

There’s been a growing number of Alzheimer’s cases and other degenerative diseases that are associated with age. This effect is so striking that according to the world report on Alzheimer’s, published in 2015, cases might double in number over the next 20 years and it seems there’s no definitive treatment yet.

This is why scientists are running a real race against time not just to provide patients with a better quality of life, but to also try and reverse the effects of the disease.

Because we know that there have been many studies carried out concerning Alzheimer’s with little progress, it’s important to regard this kind of news with caution.

Nevertheless, it does appear that scientist have achieved a “small breakthrough”.

At the Easton Center (which specializes in research on neurodegenerative diseases) of the University of California, researchers have managed to slow down and even reverse the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s.

We’ll give you all the information below.

A new treatment for Alzheimer’s

The study appeared in the magazine “Aging.” According to Dale Bredesen, the director of the Easton Center, the most novel aspect of their research is the approach.

So far, they have created a unique treatment for Alzheimer’s, in the hopes that it will slow cognitive degeneration.

What’s novel about this study is that each patient received a combination of several different drugs and vitamins, accompanied by a predetermined diet and changes in their lifestyle habits.

The results they obtained after treatment regimens ranging from nine months to two years are very encouraging. Let’s look more closely at the details.

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Medication

The drug itself is known as MEND (Metabolic Improvement of Neuro-Degeneration).

So far only nine patients who have Alzheimer’s have received it, and they’ve shown positive results; their cognitive performance improved significantly.

  • At the moment we’re only talking about a very limited sample size, so it’s too soon to conclude that the benefits of this drug are 100% safe and reliable. In the coming months, researchers hope to perform more tests and extend the treatment to more patients.
  • Another fact to remember is that the patients who showed the greatest improvements were not those who were already at a more advanced stage of the disease.
  • After receiving the treatment for nearly two years, researchers measured the improvements based on brain scans and neuropsychological tests.
  • One encouraging result was that the hippocampus, the neuronal structure associated with memory, generally increased in size.

Old woman touching the face of a young man

Along with the medication, patients also changed their lifestyle habits

The sample of patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s in early stages received, in addition to this medication, a very specific and careful diet:

  • They eliminated their consumption of simple carbohydrates
  • Gluten and processed foods were restricted
  • Along with the drug, they also took certain supplements like vitamin D3, melatonin, methylcobalamin, fish oil, and Q10 co-enzyme
  • Each patient had to sleep at least seven hours a day
  • If female patients had abandoned hormone replacement therapy, they restored their treatment
  • Each patient practiced 30 minutes of exercise four to six times a week

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Incredible improvements

We want to point out once again that this treatment was most effective for people who were in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

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  • Neuropsychological tests showed that long-term memory had improved from 3% to 84%.
  • Patients recovered their vocabulary and were able to recognize faces better.

These results are, without a doubt, very encouraging. Still, the researchers are clear about one essential aspect: this treatment regimen would be much more effective if the patient was diagnosed to be at risk for Alzheimer’s through genetic analysis.

In other words, before the main symptoms of the disease emerged.

However, relatives of the nine patients who took part in the study complained of the great difficulty of keeping up the treatment:

  • They had to administer multiple tablets: the medication itself in addition to the various vitamins and supplements.
  • It’s not easy to get a patient with Alzheimer’s to rest for seven hours or exercise daily.

For this reason, they generated a combined treatment that is expensive and somewhat complex.

In spite of this, the results are very positive and for the moment they hope to continue to make progress based on these advances. We await more information.

Sources:

MPI Cognition: New Study: Reversal of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease

Science Daily: Pre and post testing show reversal of memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease in 10 patients.

Bredesen, D. E., Amos, E. C., Canick, J., Ackerley, M., Raji, C., Fiala, M., & Ahdidan, J. (2016). Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Aging. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100981