Age-related cognitive decline and disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are becoming increasingly prevalent with our aging population. Cognitive decline has a significant impact not only on an individual’s quality of life, but also on their loved ones and caretakers, as well as immense healthcare costs.
So far single drugs to treat cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s have been largely ineffective. This is because these conditions are complex and involve multiple mechanisms, therefore requiring multiple treatment interventions.
In an excellent study published in the journal Aging titled ‘Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program’, the authors use a personalized, multifaceted approach to successfully reverse cognitive decline.
The study involved 10 people with varying degrees of cognitive decline, many of whom had to discontinue working due to the severity of their condition.
The treatment program, which they called metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND), was based on our current understanding on the underlying causes of age-related cognitive decline.
The program consisted of a combination of diet and lifestyle recommendations, as well as targeted herbal and nutrient supplementation.
Here is an example of a few of the recommendations:
After only 3-6 months on this program, 9 of the 10 patients experienced significant improvements in memory and cognition (the only one who didn’t improve suffered from late stage severe Alzheimer’s disease at the onset of treatment).
The subjects were able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. The improvements has been marked and sustained, with the longest follow up at the moment being 2.5 years.
This study gives hope for those who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s or age-related cognitive decline, but the real key to success is prevention.
This multidimensional approach is very similar to what we employ in Naturopathic Medicine. By understanding the underlying mechanisms, it provides treatment targets to address the whole person, rather than simply attempting to cover up symptoms.
Dr. Tomah Phillips, ND