HEALTH: The “MEND” approach to memory loss

We’re always looking for upbeat news items from the world of later-life health. And this piece, from Medical News Today, really fits the bill.

Researchers have successfully reversed memory loss in a small number of people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease using a comprehensive treatment program, which involves a combination of lifestyle changes, brain stimulation, and medication

The team – including researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles – assessed the effects of a treatment program called metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND) on 10 patients.

The program – which is adapted to each individual patient – is described as a “36-point system” that involves changes in diet, exercise, sleep optimization, the use of specific medications and vitamins, and brain stimulation.

“Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well – the drug may have worked, a single ‘hole’ may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much,” explains Dr. Bredesen.

“We think addressing multiple targets within the molecular network may be additive, or even synergistic, and that such a combinatorial approach may enhance drug candidate performance, as well.”

All patients included in the study were experiencing memory loss as a result of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

The patients underwent cognitive testing before and after being treated with the MEND protocol.

The researchers found all 10 patients showed significant long-term improvements in memory with MEND, with many of the patients moving from “abnormal” to “normal” cognitive function.

One patient – a 69-year-old man who was in the process of shutting down his business after 11 years of progressive memory loss – saw major improvements in memory after just 6 months of MEND, such as the ability to recognize faces at work and remember his schedule.

Read the full report on the Medical News Today website.