A very small study, with only 10 subjects, is showing promising results in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. While it was previously thought that memory loss was permanent with this degenerative disease, research is showing that reversal of the symptoms can actually occur if patients follow a specific protocol.
Those participating in the study were given a tailored 36 point program which involved changes in diet, specific medication, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep optimization, and vitamins. Together, these factors changed the brain chemistry and helped reverse memory loss.
The patients were checked in on 5 months and 24 months later to see if the improvement continued. Researchers found a continuation of improvement in almost all instances.
Some participants who were previously unable to work due to their symptoms were able to return to work following the protocol. Others who were struggling found that work became much easier to manage.
The study cites the most dramatic change was that of a 66-year-old man whose hippocampal volume was in the 17th percentile when beginning the study. After 10 months of following the program set out for him by the study, his hippocampal volume increased to the 75th percentile, with an absolute increase of 12 percent.
A 49-year-old woman who participated in the study also saw an improvement in her symptoms. After being told she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, she had lost some of her language ability and began to have trouble recognizing faces. She had even spoken a foreign language, which she had all but forgotten. But after only nine months on the program, she no longer had these issues and researchers concluded that her cognitive ability was now stable.
Dr. Dale Bredesen, researcher on the study, told the press:
“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.”
The research, which took place at Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, was recently published in the journal Aging.