A ray of hope for Alzheimer’s patients

ALZHEIMERS

The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen, Avery, US $27.00, Pp 320, August 2017, ISBN 978-0735216204

Alzheimer’s disease is the only one of the America’s ten most common causes of death for which there is no effective treatment. Some 75 million Americans carry the ApoE4 gene written in their DNA. Alzheimer’s is one of the two reasons that make Alzheimer’s a dreadful disease. In The End of Alzheimer’s, Dale Bredesen says that if we had a drug for Alzheimer’s or other intervention that made people with Alzheimer’s even a little better, everybody would sing its praises to the roof tops. So would everyone who has a loved one with Alzheimer’s, everyone at risk for Alzheimer’s, and of course everyone who has already developed Alzheimer’s. But no such drug exists. We don’t even have a treatment to keep people with subjective cognitive impairment or mild cognitive impairment (two conditions that often precede Alzheimer’s) from going on to develop full-blown Alzheimer’s.

The second reason Alzheimer’s inspires such dread is it is worse than fatal. Lots of diseases are fatal. As the old joke has it, life is fatal. For years and sometimes decades before it opens the door to the grim reaper, Alzheimer’s robs its victims of their very humanity and terrorizes their families. Their memories, their capacity to think, their ability to live full and independent lives – all gone, in a grim and unrelenting descent into a mental abyss where they no longer know their loved ones, their past, the world, or themselves.

Although Dale Bredesen has included scientific evidence, it is not a scientific tome. It is a practical, easy to use, step by step manual for preventing and reversing the cognitive decline of early Alzheimer’s to its precursors, mild cognitive impairment, and subjective cognitive impairment, and sustaining that improvement. It is also a guidebook by which the 75 million Americans who carry the ApoE4 gene can escape the fate written in their DNA. Dale Bredesen tells us that the protocol for achieving this led to the publication of a study in 2014, reporting the reversal of the cognitive decline in patients – nine out of ten of them – with Alzheimer’s or its precursors, thanks to a sophisticated personalized protocol based on our decades of research on the neurobiology of Alzheimer’s. Called ReCODE, for reversal of cognitive decline, the protocol not only achieved the reversal of the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s that no one thought possible; it also allowed patients to sustain that improvement. The very first patient treated with what is now the ReCODE protocol is five years into the treatment, and at 73 remains cognitively healthy, traveling the world and working full time. Dale Bredesen says that extensive work with hundreds of patients proves that she is far from unique.

The End of Alzheimer’s is a ray of hope for hundreds of million Americans who carry the ApoE4 gene written in their DNA. It is actually good news for 75 million American families who suffer more than the patients. Bredesen convincingly shows that Alzheimer’s will soon become curable. The End of Alzheimer’s may not be a scientific tome, it definitely shows the way to the scientists working on discovering medical treatment of the deadly disease. Dale Bredesen has done a commendable job.