Huge lifestyle interventions seems to have reversed memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease in some patients for the first time. The findings stemmed from the joint efforts of a team from UCLA’s Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, according to a press release.
Alzheimer’s disease was first discovered 100 years ago, according to Science Direct, which states this is the first time researchers have been able to reverse the memory loss caused by the disease.
In the first small study, nine out of ten patients who were treated with a complete lifestyle overhaul displayed improvements in memory that began within three to six months. The patient who did not show improvement was diagnosed with late stage Alzheimer’s disease.
The results were so significant that six patients who were struggling at work or had stopped working entirely because of cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease were able to return to their jobs or demonstrated improved performance at their jobs.
The team used a 36-point program which included changes to diet, increased brain stimulation, optimal sleep, more exercise, particular medications, and specific daily supplements. Dale Bredesen, Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology, Director of the Easton Center at UCLA, professor at Buck Institute, and author of the paper, admits that the findings are anecdotal and are contrary to current Alzheimer’s disease therapy, but he is still hopeful. Bredesen claims that current medications for the disease are not working, and he chose to look at lifestyle changes to improve memory.
Science Daily outlined an example of some of the critical lifestyle and diet changes that is said to have improved the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, though Bredesen’s approach was personalized for each patient.
- Eliminating all simple carbohydrates and gluten
- Eliminating processed food
- Eating more vegetables and fruits
- Eating wild-caught fish
- Meditating twice a day
- Starting yoga
- Increasing sleep to between seven and eight hours each night
- Daily supplementation of coenzyme Q10, fish oil, melatonin, methylcobalamin, and vitamin D3
- Improving oral hygiene by introducing an electric flossing tool and an electric toothbrush
- Reinstating hormone replacement therapy as needed
- Fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast
- Not eating at least three hours before bedtime
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes, up to six days each week
“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 effected, whether such an approach may be effective in patients with familial Alzheimer’s disease, and last, how long improvement can be sustained,” Bredesen said. The study is published in the online edition of Aging.
“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,” Bredesen said of his study documenting, for the first time, memory improvements in nine patients with Alzheimer’s disease.