In what could be a watershed moment for Alzheimer’s care, researchers out of California report that they’ve reversed Alzheimer’s-related memory loss in ten American seniors by using a novel new treatment called MEND. The researchers have released two papers supporting their findings and are now calling for more research into this method. If their findings are accurate, this would be the first time that Alzheimer’s-related memory loss has been reversed in human beings.
Findings Now Supported by MRI & Neuropsychological Testing
The MEND study was performed jointly between Alzheimer’s care scientists at UCLA and the Brock Institute for Research on Aging. In the study, ten Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s were treated with a “comprehensive” Alzheimer’s care program that included lifestyle changes, medication treatment, and brain stimulation. Treatment lasted from 5 to 22 months, with the program adapted to each patient’s needs.
The program appears to have led to significant results. In 2014, the researchers reported that nine of ten patients had reported long-term memory improvement in a paper published in Aging, a prominent research journal. Now, the researchers have released a second set of results that includes the results of MRI testing and neuropsychological testing. Those results showed marked improvements in all ten patients.
As the scientists note in the abstract of the most recent study, “The magnitude of the improvement is unprecedented.” No other Alzheimer’s care study has been able to actually reverse memory loss in patients.
Study Uses 36-Point Alzheimer’s Care Program
Some of the patients in the UCLA/Brock Institute study reported major improvements in their quality of life. Several patients who had lost their jobs due to early stage Alzheimer’s discovered after treatment that they were able to return to work.
The Alzheimer’s care program used in the MEND study was an intensive 36-point program. Some examples of the methods used by the program include:
- Eliminating intake of simple carbohydrates
- Adding fruit, vegetables, and unfarmed fish to one’s diet
- Meditation to reduce stress
- Improved sleeping habits
- Combination of doctor-directed vitamins and supplements
Dr. Dale Bredesen, one of the study’s authors, explains the importance of the 36-point program vs. single-point programs this way: "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.”
Because the program was adapted to each patient’s condition, there is no way to replicate the MEND Alzheimer’s care program unassisted.
More Testing Required, Urge Alzheimer’s Care Study Authors
While the results of the MEND study are big news, they do not mean a cure for Alzheimer’s has been found. The study only covered 10 patients and has not been reproduced by other scientists. This means much more testing will need to be performed before we know how effective the MEND process is.
Despite this, the scientists behind the MEND program believe the program has far-reaching implications for the future of Alzheimer’s care.
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