Alzheimer’s disease is notoriously one of the most tragic common diseases in the world. Many people have had to watch their loved ones slowly forget everything about themselves.
This tragic disease affects nearly 35.5 million people throughout the world. Although Alzheimer’s disease was first diagnosed close to 100 years ago, very little is currently known about it and there have been little-to-no effective cures, preventions or treatments discovered.
According to ScienceDaily, “By 2050, it’s estimated that 160 million people globally will have the disease, including 13 million Americans, leading to potential bankruptcy of the Medicare system.”
Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise. In the United States alone it has been noted as the third leading cause of death, just behind cardiovascular disease and cancer.
This year has brought about a small light of hope to people suffering from the tragic disease.
A recent study indicated that memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease might be able to be reversed.
Conducted by UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the study suggested that a complex program could improve and sustain cognitive functions damaged by the tragic disease. The program includes significant diet changes, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep scheduling, pharmaceuticals, vitamins and other steps that affect and/or change brain chemistry.
It’s important to note that the study was small: ten subjects were tested. However, for its size it was incredibly successful. Nine out of ten of the patients suffering from memory loss saw improvement within 3-to-6 months of beginning the program.
“This is the first successful demonstration,” said Dale Bredesen, the Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology and Director of the Easton Center at UCLA, a Buck Institute professor and an author of the study.
As successful as the study was in giving hope to finding treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, it has not yet been replicated. Replication is a key part of scientific study.
Bredesen added, “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.”
The program in the study has shown only good side effects, such as improved health and optimal body mass index, but it is not without flaws. The tragic disease is complex on its own. It only makes sense that any treatment would be equally complex. The problem is that the routine is so complex that it’s difficult for those afflicted with the disease, and their caretakers, to stick the entire protocol.
This has not been the only beacon of hope for Alzheimer’s disease this year. In August, another study, out of Yale School of Medicine, was able to recover cognitive function in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
[Image courtesy of The Health Site]