A revolutionary, personalized study was able to reverse some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in a small number of patients, opening doors towards new treatments for this much-dreaded degenerative disease.
According to UPI, researchers from the Buck Institute and the University of California, Los Angeles have discovered that there may be easier ways to solve the elusive problem of Alzheimer’s.
The researchers studied 36 different variables that may factor in the appearance of Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as diet, exercise and medications. They then treated patients from between five and 24 months to check on how the variables might have affected the patients’ brain activity.
Each of the patients was given a personalized, 36-point program that included changes to diet, exercise, brain stimulation, sleep, vitamins and medications. The scientists found that all of the patients experienced improvements in memory and cognitive abilities, and some of them were even able to go back to work and complete tasks that they previously found difficult to do.
This study is the first of its kind, as much of what is currently known regarding Alzheimer’s was the result of samples taken from deceased patients. Alzheimer’s is difficult to diagnose in living patients. While the disease has specific symptoms that characterize it, the underlying cause for the disease has long baffled scientists and doctors.
The treatments for the disease have been focused on curtailing and managing symptoms such as memory loss. Genetics has shown to be a factor in a person’s risk of contracting Alzheimer’s – if a person has at least one, if not two, copies of the APOE4 allele, the chances are of eventually succumbing to Alzheimer’s is greater. Doctors don’t normally suggest genetic testing, as nothing can be done to prevent it, but this new study offers the potential to reverse or prevent Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Dale Bredesen, a professor at the Buck Institute and researcher on the study, says in a press release,
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,” he adds.
By targeting the degeneration of the brain as a whole, rather than using specific medicines for specific areas of the brain, the study was able to produce concrete results unlike which have ever been seen before.
The study was published in the journal Aging.