In some excellent news about a horrible and gripping disease, Science Alert reports 10 patients with early Alzheimer’s disease responded to a clinical trial of a new treatment and showed the disease can be reversed. According to the researchers, this is the first study to objectively show that memory loss in patients can be reversed, and improvement sustained. The treatment caused the trial patients not only gain back cognitive skills, but also allowed them to return to work and become productive again. Some regained their ability to speak different languages, the reports says, and experience increased brain matter after just a few months.
"All of these patients had either well-defined mild cognitive impairment, subjective cognitive impairment, or had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before beginning the program," says one of the team, Dale Bredesen, University of California, Los Angeles. "Follow up testing showed some of the patients going from abnormal to normal."
The treatment, called metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration, or MEND, is based on 36 different factors, including changes in diet, exercise, and sleeping habits, plus the integration of certain drugs, vitamins, and brain stimulation therapy to their regular routine.
A team from UCLA and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California reports that many of the patients showed real, life-altering, unprecedented, improved results.
The Journal Aging published this official results:
Alzheimer's disease is one of the most significant healthcare problems nationally and globally. Recently, the first description of the reversal of cognitive decline in patients with early Alzheimer's disease or its precursors, MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and SCI (subjective cognitive impairment), was published . The therapeutic approach used was programmatic and personalized rather than monotherapeutic and invariant, and was dubbed metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND). Patients who had had to discontinue work were able to return to work, and those struggling at work were able to improve their performance. The patients, their spouses, and their co-workers all reported clear improvements. Here we report the results from quantitative MRI and neuropsychological testing in ten patients with cognitive decline, nine ApoE4+ (five homozygous and four heterozygous) and one ApoE4-, who were treated with the MEND protocol for 5-24 months. The magnitude of the improvement is unprecedented, providing additional objective evidence that this programmatic approach to cognitive decline is highly effective. These results have far-reaching implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, MCI, and SCI; for personalized programs that may enhance pharmaceutical efficacy; and for personal identification of ApoE genotype.
This means there could be some benefit in getting tested for this genetic risk, because patients might finally be able to do something to stall the progression of the disease. Around 65 percent of Alzheimer's cases in the US involve APOE4.
Bredesen says "We're entering a new era” and the old advice to not get tested is no longer recommended as now there is a bonafide chance that early detection can lead to prevention and reversal. Ten studies of the patients can read about in their open access paper. One 69-year-old man began showing signs of progressive memory loss was to close his business. After 10 months of treatment returned to work and expanded his business. Here are two other excerpts.
One woman was barely able to do grocery shopping on her own before the treatment, but showed "marked improvement" that has now been sustained for 3.5 years
Another patient regained her ability to speak two different languages after nine months of taking the treatment. "She remains asymptomatic after one year on the program," the team reports.
The results are remarkable. It’s noted that in order to retain the results, the treatment must be maintained. The trial had been conducted for four years and there are no findings on how long the treatment will last, but they did find that one patient who opted to go off the treatment reported a rapid decline after three months. A comprehensive analysis as to why the treatment works has yet to be published. At this point the study has only been tried on 10 patients. A larger study is expected that will allow a better understanding and more results, but this is the best news that has ever been released about Alzheimer’s.
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