Alzheimer's Reversed: Lost Memories Returned to Patients for the First Time, Researchers Claim

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor testifies at a hearing held to provide an update from the Alzheimer's Study Group on Capitol Hill in Washington March 25, 2009. |

Alzheimer's has been reversed for the first time in a medical study, according to reports. Patients who were struggling and had to stop working because of their memory loss were able to return to work in a medical trial at UCLA.

The Alzeheimer's was reversed in nine out of 10 patients in a non-drug regimen, according to a study published in the journal Aging. Researchers with the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging instructed patients to make diet changes, exercise, stimulate their brains, get adequate sleep, take vitamins and much more.

The patients were also told to avoid carbs, gluten and processed foods, as well as take yoga and meditate. The 36-point therapeutic plan has proved to be more effective than individual drugs.

"The existing Alzheimer's drugs affect a single target, but Alzheimer's disease is more complex," Dale Bredesen, the Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology and Director of the Easton Center at UCLA, said in a press release. "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."

Nine out of the 10 patients saw a marked improvement in their memory retention and have been able to continue at work with increased performance or head back to work if they had left. The one patient who did not improve had late-stage Alzheimer's at the beginning of the study, but the rest have maintained their healthy living styles and better memories as far as a year-and-a-half later.

This "suggested that a broader-based therapeutics approach, rather than a ingle drug that aims a single target, may be feasible and potentially more effective for the treatment of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's," Dr. Bredesen stated.

Although the results are "very encouraging," Bredesen said that more extensive research must be done before the treatment can be recommended widely.

"At the current time the results are anecdotal, and therefore a more extensive, controlled clinical trial is warranted … In the past decade alone, hundreds of clinical trials have been conducted for Alzheimer's at an aggregate cost of over a billion dollars, without success," he explained.

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