Memory Loss Caused By Alzheimer’s Disease Is Reversible Through A Systems-Based Treatment Approach

Alzheimer’s disease and permanent memory loss have always gone hand-in-hand, until now. A new study shows that memory loss in people who have Alzheimer’s disease is reversible through a combination of nutrition, medication, and lifestyle change.

The study, which was conducted by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, in collaboration with the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, involved a 10-patient trial in which subjects were tested for signs of memory loss prior to a lifestyle intervention and were tested again afterward. In the trial, improvements in memory were measured by quantitative MRI scans and neuropsychological testing. This study procedure mimics a scientific protocol known as “metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration.” According to Science Daily, this protocol is the scientific recipe for the reversal of cognitive decline.

Alzheimers patient 2 [Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Images]Lead author of the study, Dale Bredesen, MD, of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, believes that the systems-based approach to aging research is one of the most effective in preventing and reversing memory loss. To make the study successful, Bredesen and his colleagues chose to work with a group of elderly patients whose cognitive functions were already in decline.

In one case, a 66-year-old man, who showed evidence of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), showed limited signs of memory loss after the new protocol was implemented. Another patient, a 49-year-old female with Alzheimer’s disease, no longer showed evidence of memory loss after her intervention. In fact, the majority of the patients involved in the study improved due to the systems-based approach to memory reversal. The results, according to Bredesen, show that closely monitored self-care can both prevent and reverse cognitive decline and/or memory loss. He believes that this research is the beginning of a new way to approaching treatment and prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, MCI, and Subjective Cognitive Impairment (SCI).

“We’re entering a new era. The old advice was to avoid testing for APOE because there was nothing that could be done about it. Now we’re recommending that people find out their genetic status as early as possible so they can go on prevention.”

[Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Images] [Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Images]The key to eliminating memory loss in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments is looking at the problem from many angles. Treating the disease does not begin and end with medication. First, the patient has to know there is a problem, then they have to seek multiple solutions. Bredesen recently explained his systems-based approach in detail.

“Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well—the drug may have worked, a single ‘hole’ may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much. We think addressing multiple targets within the molecular network may be additive, or even synergistic, and that such a combinatorial approach may enhance drug candidate performance, as well.”

The study which gives high hopes for those living with memory loss comes just in time for Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. Realizing that there are 5.3 million people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States alone, Bredesen admits that his systems-based approach to reversing memory loss is only one piece to the puzzle. He believes that much more research and implementation must take place to prevent memory loss altogether.

“The magnitude of improvement in these ten patients is unprecedented, providing additional objective evidence that this programmatic approach to cognitive decline is highly effective. Even though we see the far-reaching implications of this success, we also realize that this is a very small study that needs to be replicated in larger numbers at various sites.”

[Feature photo by Evan Vucci/AP Images]