Alzheimer’s reversed with intensive lifestyle program

A few years ago at the age of 67, Sarah (not her real name) was planning suicide because she was starting to have the same problems her mother suffered from as she developed Alzheimer’s.  She couldn’t remember phone numbers or what she had just read and even finding her way around the familiar roads near her home in California was becoming impossible. She’d already been forced to give up her job because she could no longer cope. 

Today Sarah’s memory has improved so much that she has been able to go back to work and suicide is right off the agenda. That’s not what is supposed to happen. Doctors in both American and the UK have nothing to offer patients like Sarah. At least nothing in the way of drugs to slow her inevitable decline. What made the difference was an intensive diet and lifestyle package that combined exercise,  drastic changes in her diet and supplements for six months. The results were remarkable.

She was one of ten patients who went on the package developed by a professor of neurology at the University of California. Out went simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed foods, which were replaced with a lot more vegetables and fish. She started taking exercise, meditating and doing yoga. Her supplement regime included B vitamins, vitamin D, fish oil, Co-Q10, melatonin and HRT.

Nine patients on similar regimes saw a noticeable improvement in memory. Only one patient, who was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, didn’t benefit. Some patients have been followed up for two and a half years and the memory improvements have been maintained.

Even though Alzheimer’s experts agree in theory that lifestyle plays a major part in your chances of developing the disease, they have proved remarkably reluctant to actually do anything serious about it. This is a powerful demonstration of what can be done with an informed and targeted approach. How much longer can everything that doesn’t involve a drug, however good the results, continue to be ignored?

For more details see here

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Comments

  1. The programme you are describing must be just as effective for reversing vuscular dementia. Low levels of D and B vitamins, combined with high levels of cholesterol, play a major factor in the formation of the arterial plaques which cause vascular dementia. The diet you are describing, combined with plenty of physical excersice, must help remove the arterial plaques from the brain and therefore reverse vuscular dementia.

    How much longer is vuscular dementia, which is preventable and is as common as Alzheimer’s, continue to be largely ignored?

    • Sounds very plausible. I do know there is an academic debate about the benefit of making the distinction. Years ago I remember attending seminars where it was obvious that many of the bio markers linked to heart disease also seemed to be markers for Alzheimer’s. Could never understand why all the focus was on these mysterious plaques.

      Unfortunately the way that things stand at the moment even if it was proved by the most vast and rigorous RCT ever that the incidence of vascular dementia could be reduced by 90% with lifestle changes, the smart money would still stay on the drugs. This is about politics – minimal funding for genuine public health – not evidence.

  2. All disease, or dis-ease, results from multiple sources and they vary from one individual to another. They include to lesser and greater degrees biological, physiological, emotional, psychological, mental, physical, environmental, circumstantial and spiritual, and no doubt others.

    What is certain is that the ‘pill’ mentality will never bring greater general health nor much cure.

  3. Lane Simonian says:

    This is a good point. It depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to kill cancer cells, for instance (hopefully without killing other cells) you want to use oxidants. Intravenous injections of Vitamin C which in the case of oxidative stress acts as a pro-oxidant can potentially kill cancer cells without damaging surrounding cells.

    Antioxidants have the potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer (a Mediterranean diet in part, at least, or the traditional diet of India) and to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

    The main oxidant in Alzheimer’s disease is called peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrites inhibit the release and synthesis of neurotransmitters involved in short-term memory, sleep, mood, social recognition, and alertness, prevent the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus, and cause the death of neurons. The best peroxynitrite scavengers have partially reversed Alzheimer’s disease in a half dozen clinical trials.

    My favorite anonymous quote on Alzheimer’s disease is below. If someone would listen to what this person is saying, effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease would be months rather than years away.

    .[Clinical trials with over-the-counter supplements have concentrated either on
    items which suppress inflammation or on antioxidants which scavenger oxygen
    derived free radicals. Most of these items have proved to be worthless in the
    treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly most drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease do little to slow the deterioration, but instead offer a mild temporary symptom relief. However, evidence has been accumulating that the primary driver of Alzheimer’s disease is a nitrogen derived free radical called peroxynitrites which may mediate both amyloid and tau accumulation as well as their toxicity. Excellent results have been obtained with peroxynitrite scavengers, with reversals of Alzheimer’s disease being repeatedly demonstrated. IMHO, the only thing which may be preventing the abolition of Alzheimer’s disease is the mental inertia of scientists as well as the bureaucrats who fund them. Unfortunately, most bureaucrats keep throwing money into repeatedly testing discredited interventions, while ignoring successful ones. Common sense is anything but…]

  4. Lane Simonian says:

    Yes, this is the critical question: how much longer will these studies being ignored?

    Everything involved in this study is in one shape or form an antioxidant. Alzheimer’s disease is a disease caused by oxidation and the appropriate antioxidants whether they involve moderate exercise, meditation (to reduce stress), a healthier diet, several vitamins, essential oils via aromatherapy, or herbs and spices (such as panax ginseng and lemon balm) can be used to effectively treat the disease. Here is the study for panax ginseng; the results of which are quite similar to the ones from this study.

    Improvement of Cognitive Deficit in Alzheimer’s Disease Patients by Long Term Treatment with Korean Red Ginseng
    Jae-Hyeok Heo, Soon-Tae Lee, […], and Manho Kim

    Additional article information

    Abstract
    A 24-week randomized open-label study with Korean red ginseng (KRG) showed cognitive benefits in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. To further determine long-term effect of KRG, the subjects were recruited to be followed up to 2 yr. Cognitive function was evaluated every 12 wk using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and the Korean version of the Mini Mental Status Examination (K-MMSE) with the maintaining dose of 4.5 g or 9.0 g KRG per d. At 24 wk, there had been a significant improvement in KRG-treated groups. In the long-term evaluation of the efficacy of KRG after 24 wk, the improved MMSE score remained without significant decline at the 48th and 96th wk. ADAS-cog showed similar findings. Maximum improvement was found around week 24. In conclusion, the effect of KRG on cognitive functions was sustained for 2 yr follow-up, indicating feasible efficacies of long-term follow-up for Alzheimer’s disease.

    Studies like these make most Alzheimer’s scientists and charity organization administrators apoplectic. Instead of attempting follow-up studies, they attack the studies: too small, no control group,
    it is the placebo effect, the evidence is insufficient. They feign skepticism, but it is more fear. Fear that this disease can be treated without drugs and that there raison d’ etre will disappear.

    The few scientists who are doing this research often cannot get funding and thus promising preliminary studies never advance and in the meantime many people die from a disease which while not yet curable is likely treatable.

    • Thanks very much for your detailed comment. I’m not sure, though that it is all about antioxidants. My understanding is that the picture: oxidants bad antioxidants good,has become rather more complex. Oxidants are involved in signalling in ways that can be beneficial. That panacea exercise generates a lot of oxidants, for instance.
      However I certainly agree that the large bias to drug development means that any of these unknowns are not properly studied and when the effects of vitamins are investigated the purpose seems to be to discredit them rather than to discover anything to allow them to be used more ffectively. The shoddy studies attempting to show that high dose :B vitamins have no effect on cognitive impairment is a case in point

    • The problem is that the human body cannot be reduced to a machine, mechanical construct or bag of chemicals and that is the only way science/medicine functions for the moment.

      Homeopathy is also highly effective for the condition, as it is for many.

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