Forgetfulness has always been seen as something of a death sentence. A slow and irreversible mental decline, it’s one of the few diseases still unsolved by modern medicine. If you’ve ever watched a loved one with forgetfulness mentally deteriorate, you know the difficulty and sadness that the condition can cause.
That’s why a study conducted last year has been making serious waves. Conducted by researchers at UCLA, it gives promise that we may be closer to treating and reversing forgetfulness than most of us realize. It’s the first peer reviewed study to show that memory loss can be reversed, and that cognitive improvements are sustainable.
That’s a big deal. To see what the future of forgetfulness' treatment looks like, let’s take a moment to examine what the UCLA team did.
This Non-Drug Protocol Restores
Multiple Areas Of The Brain Simultaneously
The researchers made their breakthrough by re-conceptualizing how they thought about forgetfulness. As scientists have come to realize, forgetfulness isn’t contained to one area or process of the brain. It actually attacks multiple regions simultaneously. That’s one reason why the $1 billion spent fighting forgetfulness to date has had very limited efficacy.
Dr. Dale Bredesen, who was the lead researcher on the project, explained. “Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well…a single ‘hole’ may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much,” said Dr. Bredesen.
To deal with this problem, the team at UCLA came up with a new program called MEND, short for “metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration.” MEND is a 36-point therapeutic program that involves altering patients’ diet and vitamin intake, brain stimulation, exercise, and sleep.
The treatment program is based on Dr. Bredesen’s belief that forgetfulness may not be caused by the accumulation of amyloid beta peptide plaques in the brain, but instead by an imbalance in nerve signaling. This runs counter to previous treatment programs which had targeted the plaques but not focused on how to repair lapsed nerve connections.
Judging by the results, the UCLA team is onto something.
UCLA Scientist’s 7 Step Plan
For Reversing Memory Loss
The progress that patients on the MEND program made were remarkable and unprecedented.
One such patient was a 69-year-old who had been forced to shut down his family business due to his forgetfulness. After 22 months of treatment on the MEND program, the patient’s cognitive testing showed that he had jumped from the 3rd percentile to the 84th percentile in mental acuity for his age group. His successful treatment led to his returning to work.
Another woman who had lost her bilingualism had not only regained her language ability, but also remained asymptomatic over a year after her MEND treatment when the research team checked back in. This shows hope that the treatment is not only temporarily effective, but also good for long term progress.
What Does MEND Look Like?
You may be wondering what exactly the MEND program looks like. While there’s no silver bullet – part of the strength of the treatment is that it's highly personalized to each patient – there are a number of techniques that worked for most patients.
Here are a few that Dr. Bredesen thought were most effective:5
- Yoga and meditation twice a day for twenty minutes
- 30 minutes of exercise, four to six times a week
- Seven to eight hours of sleep per night
- Improved oral hygiene with electric flosser and toothbrush
- Elimination of simple carbohydrates from diet
- Incorporation of more vegetables, fruit, and fish into diet
- Vitamins including melatonin, Vitamin D3, and CoQ10
None of these are anything too crazy, but when done right, they can have a huge effect. It can’t hurt for us to start these good habits early, so meditate, fix your diet, and get a good night’s sleep!