Just the word, "Alzheimer's" can be frightening. It steals memories and is one of America's leading causes of death. But Dr. Dale Bredesen, author of the book, The End of Alzheimer's, has resarched Alzheimer's for decades. He says it's possible to not only prevent its onset, but actually reverse the symptoms of the disease.
"Alzheimer's disease is no longer a mystery," he explains, "You don't have to say, 'We don't know why you get it. We don't know what to do about it. We do know why you get it. We do know what to do about it. And we know how to prevent it."
Initially, Dr. Bredesen published his research results in peer-reviewed medical journals such as Aging, in which he showed significant improvment in 90% of respondents.
The key, he says, is early testing of Alzheimer's 36 causes and a personalized approach to deal with any shortcomings. Just like a roof with 36 holes can only work if all 36 are repaired, Dr. Bredesen says there are 36 causes of Alzheimer's that must all be addressed. His treatment focuses on figuring out exactly why a person is experiencing cognitive decline and correcting those deficiencies.
Dr. Dale Bredesen talks with Pat Robertson about his Alzheimer's research and the exciting discoveries in his book, The End of Alzheimer's, on Wednesday's 700 Club.
"If there are specific exposures, you want to get rid of those," he says. "If there are nutritional changes, you want to address those, if there are hormonal changes you want to address those, if there are inflammatory changes...address those."
The first step is what Dr. Bredesen calls a cognoscopy. That involves blood work, genetic tests and more to identify where the patient stands when it comes to Alzheimer's 36 causes.
"All of us should have a cognoscopy when we get to 45 or more. Just like we get a colonoscopy when we're 50, everybody knows that. If you're over 45 you should have a cognoscopy," Dr. Bredesen says.
"Each person's program is different, so we developed a computerized algorithm so that you can look at all the different contributors for each person. Identify them."
Results can be seen fairly rapidly.
"It takes typically three to six months," he says. "We see unprecedented improvements in their scores, in their ability to go back to work, interact with their families, increases in their hippocampal volume, things like that."
When it comes to sustainability, Dr. Bredesen says patients who have been on the program for five years now are still mentally fit.
So while genetics means an estimated 75 million American are predisposed to have Alzheimer's Disease, Dr. Dale Bredesen says they no longer have to fear being tested because now there is something they can do about it.