Healthy lifestyle ‘may reverse’ Alzheimer’s
ALZHEIMER’S disease can be reversed with a combination of lifestyle changes and drugs, according to a landmark study.
A tailored programme of dozens of different treatments can restore cognitive ability for those ravaged by the devastating brain disease, researchers say.
Alzheimer’s is now more feared than cancer in the over-45s. It already affects 850,000 Britons and the number is expected to leap to one million by 2025.
Researchers believe the effects of Alzheimer’s may be driven by the body’s metabolic processes.
The plan, known as the metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (Mend), gives the body a boost through diet, exercise and hormone replacement.
The 10 patients in the trial had all suffered from memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Lifestyle changes included cutting out carbohydrates, processed foods and gluten while increasing vegetables, fruits and fish. They took up yoga, meditated twice a day and increased their sleep to seven to eight hours a night. They also took vitamins B12, D3 and fish oil and fasted for three hours before bed.
Nine of the patients reported improvements within three to six months. Dale Bredesen, assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said: “Results suggest that memory loss in patients with subjective cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment and at least the early phase of Alzheimer’s disease may be reversed, and improvement sustained, with the therapeutic programme.”
He said the results, published in the journal Aging, proved there was a need for a larger, controlled trial. Dr Rosa Sancho, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “As Alzheimer’s is a complex disease involving a number of different biological processes, it is likely future treatment approaches will be most effective if they tackle the disease on multiple fronts.”
“In such a small study it is difficult to draw firm conclusions... and further research is necessary to investigate this.”
Professor Christian Holscher, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher at Lancaster University, dismissed the claims as “exaggerated” and based on “anecdotal evidence”.