Can memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s be reversed? With 36 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and the cost of care only increasing, doctors and researchers are looking for ways to prevent, treat, and even cure, the disease.

A new study may bring renewed hope to those living with disease. A recent study out of UCLA was able to reverse memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease through lifestyle changes. Learn more.

An Intense 36 Point Program

A recent study published in the current edition of the journal Aging shows promise in reversing memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The small study was conducted by Dr. Dale Bredesen of the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and included ten participants who were experiencing varying levels of cognitive impairment.

The study involved an intense 36 point program which targeted lifestyle choices. The program included diet changes, brain stimulation and vitamins. While each program was personalized according the needs of each individual participant, sample components of the program included:

  • A major reduction or total elimination of processed foods, simple carbohydrates and gluten

  • An increase in consumption of vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish

  • Meditation and yoga for stress reduction

  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, up to six days per week

  • Sleeping between 7 and 8 hours each night

  • Fasting for at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast

Encouraging Results for Memory Loss Reversal

Nine of the ten participants experienced improvement in their memories within six months of the study. Six individuals who had already quit their jobs or were considering quitting were able to return to work with improved performance. The one patient who did not improve had been diagnosed with late stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Lead researcher Dr. Bredesen said, “’The existing Alzheimer’s drugs affect a single target, but Alzheimer’s disease is more complex. Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well. The drug may have worked, and a single hole may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much.”

While the findings are very encouraging, researchers say that the results are anecdotal and more studies will be needed before implementing a program like this for more patients. Researchers are also unsure how long improved cognition will last if the program is discontinued.