Reversing Memory Loss in Dementia

Alan R. Jacobs, MD


October 17, 2014

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This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I am Dr Alan Jacobs. Researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have published the first small study of a novel personalized comprehensive program to reverse memory loss.[1] Their first 10 participants carried the diagnoses of Alzheimer disease, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and subjective cognitive impairment. The intervention was a 36-point therapeutic program involving comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise, optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple additional steps that affect brain chemistry. Within 3-6 months of the program's start, nine of the first 10 participants displayed subjective or objective improvement in memory. Of six patients who had to discontinue working or were struggling with their jobs at study onset, all were able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. Improvements have been sustained for as long as 2.5 years from initial treatment. One of the 10 patients with late-stage Alzheimer disease did not improve. The downside to the program was its complexity, and none of the patients were able to stick to the entire protocol. Significant diet and lifestyle changes and multiple pills required each day were the most common complaints. The main side effect of the program was improved health and optimized body mass index. Bredesen cautions that these results are anecdotal and a larger controlled trial is warranted to confirm these results and further define the degree of improvement possible, how late in the course of cognitive decline reversal can be effected, and how long improvements can be sustained. This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.


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