Researchers involved in a small study determined that a more programmatic and personalized therapy could help reverse the memory loss in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The study offers some insights on how the disease could be more treatable than previously thought. succeed
The study from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research showed for the first time such results. The subjects accounted for ten patients that showed memory loss reversal in the results of an examination of the program, compared to the one before.
The team used a sophisticated 36-point therapeutic and personalized program that involved comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise, optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, among others, according to a press release by the Buck Institute.
“The magnitude of improvement in these ten patients is unprecedented, providing additional objective evidence that this programmatic approach to cognitive decline is highly effective,” said Dr. Dale Bredesen, a professor at the Buck Institute and the University of California Los Angeles. “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.”
For the study, the team recruited ten people with mild cognitive impairment, subjective cognitive impairment or diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease at the beginning of the survey. The study was published in the journal Aging earlier this week.
In the course of the program, the patients had recommendations based exclusively on their condition and without any generalization of the subjects between five and 24 months. The team reported in all the ten patients improvements in memory and cognitive functions.
People in the study were able to perform activities that were too complicated to fulfill before the program, according to the team. Some participants were able to go back to work or the one still in one showed improvement in their daily activities.
What scientists know so far about Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer is a form of dementia that is mostly found in elderly people and often is misdiagnosed due to it cannot be cured, and some physicians even avoid offering an official diagnosis of something that could not be changed. Also, patients often enter in denial over the disease and avoid treatment.
The awareness, however, could ease up the impact on the patient and the family members. There are steps that a family can take while a person is semi-independent, such as using webcams to monitor them or to turn off a stove automatically to avoid an emergency situation.
According to Dr. Halima Amjad of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology in Baltimore, early diagnosis helps families to put those safeguards in place and have more time to prepare for safety issues, rather than making decisions in a period of crisis.
An unsafe disease
It was determined that older people with undiagnosed dementia are more likely to take part in potentially dangerous behaviors than those with the diagnosed condition. Understanding the prevalence could help caregivers focus safety screening and counseling in the elderly, whether they are dementia-diagnosed or not.
It was found that 28 percent of the undiagnosed participants in the study were driving, preparing hot meals, managing finances, managing medications, and attending doctor visits alone. In comparison to only 17 percent of those with diagnosed dementia that was engaging as well in the same activities, according to the study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“Just because someone has dementia does not mean they cannot do these things on their own. But if both physicians and families are aware, then they can get safeguards in place,” said study leader, Dr. Amjad.
The most common thing for undiagnosed dementia participants was preparing their meal, almost half of them were doing it, followed by the elderly handling their finances with nearly 30 percent of them. The diagnosed ones engaging in this activities were only 17 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
For the cohort study, the team gathered data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study, which is collecting information from 2011. There were more than 7,000 Medicare beneficiaries analyzed aged 65 and older that took part in the research project.
The participants were classified into four groups based on self-reported dementia diagnosis, proxy screening interview, and cognitive testing. This information was used by the researchers to determine which participant could have undiagnosed dementia depending on the results of the previously made tests.
Alzheimer’s has already become remarkably easier to detect thanks to VR technology.https://t.co/XWmLOQKEoI
— Hacking Alzheimer's (@hckalz) June 13, 2016
From the four groups, one gathered the dementia-diagnosed participants, which were 457, another those with probable dementia without an official diagnosis, that accounted for 581 and the third one with just possible dementia, which was 996. Those participants without dementia were the vast majority, accounting for 5,575.
After that, the specific activities that could endanger the wellbeing of the people in the study were analyzed in each group by the team of researchers. The study is adjusted as well sociodemographic factors, medical comorbidities, and physical capacity.
Lowering the chances
There are currently some published studies that have found some measures that could lessen the risk of developing dementia, more specifically Alzheimer. Among the recurrent recommendations were increasing physical activity, having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining social engagement, and participating in intellectually stimulating activities.
Other studies suggested that the prevention of diseases that damage blood vessels such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes may also lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There is no cure for the disease, and the available treatments will seek only to decrease the disease’ symptoms, but those will not prevent its progression.
Could it be that Alzheimer’s disease stems from the toxic remnants of the brain’s attempt to fight off infection?
— Hacking Alzheimer's (@hckalz) June 7, 2016
In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, several other diseases are characterized by dementia symptoms, such as vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Source: Buck Institute