Scientists Find A New Treatment for Alzheimer’s
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
The growing number of the elderly in today’s society has brought with it more cases of Alzheimer’s 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 of Alzheimer’s are expected to double in number over the next 20 years.
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 to reverse the effects of the disease.
Because we know that there have been many studies carried out concerning Alzheimer’s and, for now, little progress has been made, it’s important to regard this kind of news with caution.
Nevertheless, it does appear that a “small breakthrough” has already been achieved.
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 has already been published in the magazine “Aging.” According to Dale Bredesen, the director of the Easton Center as well as this study, the most novel aspect of their research is their approach.
So far, they have created a unique treatment for Alzheimer’s, in the hopes that it will slow cognitive degeneration.
What is novel about this study, however, 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 that 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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The drug itself is known as MEND (Metabolic Improvement of Neuro-Degeneration).
So far only nine patients who have Alzheimer’s disease have received it, and they’ve shown positive results: their cognitive performance improved significantly.
- At the moment we are 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, more tests will be performed and the treatment will be extended to more patients.
- Another fact that must be remembered 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, improvements were measured based on brain scans and neuropsychological tests.
- One encouraging result was that the hippocampus, the neuronal structure that is associated with memory, generally increased in size.
Along with the medication, patients also changed their lifestyle habits
The sample of patients that were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when it was still in the early stages received, in addition to this medication, a very specific and careful diet:
- Simple carbohydrates were completely eliminated.
- 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 was instructed to sleep at least seven hours a day.
- If female patients had abandoned hormone replacement therapy, it was restored.
- Each patient practiced 30 minutes of exercise four to six times a week.
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We want to point out once again that this treatment was most effective for people who were in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
- Neuropsychological tests showed that long-term memory had improved from 3% to 84%.
- Patients recovered their vocabulary and were better able to recognize faces.
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 were diagnosed to be at risk for Alzheimer’s through genetic analysis.
In other words, before the main symptoms of the disease emerged.
Relatives of the nine patients who took part in the study complained of the great difficulty of keeping up the treatment, however:
- Multiple tablets needed to be administered: 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 a day, or to exercise every day.
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.