A small but potentially significant study sheds a new light on the dire prospects of Alzheimer's disease. The research only involved 10 participants with Alzheimer's disease but nine of them showed recovery from some memory loss.
Regaining any ground from Alzheimer's has been believed to be impossible before this research was performed.At present, all Alzheimer's drugs have been unable to slow, let alone stop, its progression. Symptoms are at best only partially subdued.
Six of the patients in the study had been having problems at work, and some had found it necessary to quit their jobs because of Alzheimer's symptoms. Memory began to improve three to six months after the study commenced and they were able to handle their jobs unimpeded by symptoms.
Two and a half years after the initial treatment, all improvements have continued.
One patient in late stage Alzheimer's disease did not improve. Those who did regain memory had been suffering from memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) or subjective cognitive impairment (SCI).
The study was performed by the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
Never before has memory loss been reversed and the reversal sustained. Dale Bredesen, the Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology and Director of the Easton Center at UCLA, a professor at the Buck Institute, and the author of the paper, is encouraged with the results.
He cautioned however, that "at the current time the results are anecdotal, and therefore a more extensive, controlled clinical trial is warranted." Bredesen's statement was reported in an article on Sciencedaily.com.
The research found that AD involves an imbalance in the signalling of nerve cells. The imbalance causes nerve connections to be suppressed, and memories disappear. This is quite different from the contemporary stance that Alzheimer's disease results from sticky plaques accumulating in the brain.
Bredesen's approach was similar to that which is taken with other chronic illnesses, and has several components to it.