A new research study suggests that the most feared impact of Alzheimer's, namely memory loss could be reversed by a combination of broad-based treatments and personalised therapy.
Researchers of the new study published in the journal Aging on 12 June recruited 10 patients with Alzheimer's disease or cognitive impairment to test a 36-point therapeutic programme that addressed the patient's diet, sleep, exercise, intake of certain medicines and vitamins, and brain stimulation.
All patients who received the therapy showed improvements in memory and cognition and some were even able to complete tasks that had become impossible for them to do because of their declining mental abilities.
"The magnitude of the improvement is unprecedented, providing additional objective evidence that this programmatic approach to cognitive decline is highly effective," study researcher Dale Bredesen, from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and colleagues reported in the journal Aging.
The small trial is the first to show that it was possible to reverse memory loss and the improvements could be sustained.
The programme basically revolved around a combination of certain medication, lifestyle and diet and treatment also varied for each of the patients. According to the researchers, the disease was different in every patient which called for personalised approach.
Not only were the patients able to sustain the improvements, but some also returned to work, regained their ability to speak different languages, and showed an increase in brain matter volume after just a few months.
"All of these patients had either well-defined mild cognitive impairment, subjective cognitive impairment, or had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease before beginning the program," says one of the team, Dale Bredesen, University of California, Los Angeles. "Follow up testing showed some of the patients going from abnormal to normal."
The treatment - called metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration, or MEND was based on 36 different factors, which included changes in exercise, and sleeping habits, plus the integration of certain drugs, vitamins, and brain stimulation therapy to their regular routine.