The Future of Alzheimer’s Treatment Isn’t a Drug

The Future of Alzheimer’s Treatment Isn’t a Drug about undefined
Even though pharmaceutical companies keep spending obscene amounts of money looking for a "silver bullet" drug that might be able to treat Alzheimer's disease, a growing number of experts now believe that the answer to Alzheimer's disease is not going to be a drug at all. In fact, research now demonstrates that a total lifestyle approach to keeping the brain and body functioning properly may be the best hope for not only preventing, but also treating Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s look at the latest research... As I recently reported, although the FDA has conditionally approved the drug aducanumab for treating Alzheimer's disease, there are hardly any respected experts who believe that this over-priced pharmaceutical is effective. As a matter of fact, the FDA's own advisory panel voted against approving aducanumab. And after the drug was approved, three of the commissioners on the panel resigned in protest!

If Not Drugs, Then What? 

As Leroy Hood, the co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology and a recipient of the National Medal of Science, points out, "Scientists have conducted more than 400 clinical drug trials over the last 14 years searching for a pharmaceutical cure. All have failed."1 Furthermore, Dr. Hood confirms what I've been whole-heartedly saying for years, "The lack of progress in developing an effective drug, or a combination of drugs, that will treat the disease once it arises suggests that we’ve been looking at this problem in the wrong way. Instead, effective therapies may require systemic approaches based on the principles of science-driven wellness." That is, essentially, what’s called a "multi-modal” approach. "Multi-modal" means using several targeted therapies aimed at correcting various deficiencies in the body that contribute to memory loss and other thinking problems. As evidence mounts that brain function is dependent on the health of other organs, many researchers are at long last coming to the conclusion that Alzheimer's is not just a disease of the brain but involves multiple body systems. In other words, we need to treat Alzheimer's as primarily a lifestyle disease that may require specific measures tailored to each person's individual wellness needs.

The Benefits of Holistic Lifestyle Changes 

As I've reported several times before, researchers like Dale Bredesen have studied how to use multi-modal therapies to treat Alzheimer's disease. As Dr. Bredesen points out in one of his studies, treating this condition can involve reducing inflammation (in the brain and other parts of the body), healing chronic infections, stopping overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract, solving insulin resistance, heart problems, hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiences, and the list goes on and on.2 So, to think that one magic drug can somehow offset this multitude of biological imbalances is unreasonable. This devastating disease requires a holistic approach, preferably with lifestyle measures that begin before memory deficits even start to become evident. And there's a growing body of international research supporting this approach. For example, a two-year study in Finland of more than 1,200 people in their sixties and seventies who were at risk for dementia was designed to see if a combination of lifestyle changes could help them maintain better functioning brains. Half the group was a control group, meaning they merely received general health advice at the start of the study. But folks in the other half were given tools to eat a healthier diet, engage in consistent exercise and maintain better heart health, along with cognitive training, which involved mental exercises performed on a computer as well as group discussions. After two years, the people who were treated with this multi-modal technique generally had better memories than the control group. Plus, their thinking and cognitive abilites functioned at a higher level and their attention spans were superior.3

Healthy Nutrition and Exercise Work Better Together 

And a more recent study in Finland showed that while better nutrition alone or aerobic exercise alone didn't necessarily help long-term brain health, combining the two was a winner!4 Luckily, much of the research world is now turning its attention to this type of multi-modal approach, even as the FDA seems obsessed with the futile search for an Alzheimer's drug therapy. Researcher Miia Kivipelto from the Center for Alzheimer Research at the Karolinska Institute, who took part in the Finland study, points out that multi-modal studies are now under way in Canada, Latin America, China, Sweden, Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Japan and even the United States.5 Hopefully, these new global initiatives will convince even more of the conventional medical folks that a multi-modal treatment of lifestyle interventions for Alzheimer's holds far more promise than any over-priced drug ever could.

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