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Sharing the latest news on Alzheimer's & memory loss. Visit www.TheADplan.com or www.TheAlzheimersDiet.com for more information

TherapyForMemory.org Question of the Month

Posted on | July 31, 2012 | No Comments

This question was submitted via the Ask the Experts page on www.TherapyForMemory.org, a website dedicated to “helping Patients, Caregivers, Family and Healthcare Providers fight memory loss by providing up-to-date information and resources”.  Since it is a common question from both patients and family members, we share their Question/Answer of the Month here for our www.TheADplan.com blog readers. Also, feel free to visit our NEW Alzheimer’s Diet Blog at www.TheADplan.com/alzheimersdietblog to learn more!

Question:

I read on your website about different diet types and eating different foods can influence memory, delay the onset of memory loss or even TREAT alzheimers disease?!?! I asked my mom’s doctor about this and he said there is “nothing” that can be done except for the medicines. He flatly said diet doesnt work. Whats the deal here?

Answer:

This is a great question, and in fact, most doctors are still not aware of the evidence for diet modification in AD since the science is still so new (several dozen high-quality studies haven been published in 2012 alone). When it comes to treatment, there are several recent studies that show that when patients with AD or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) change their diets significantly (most significantly, decreasing the total amount of cabohydrates that they eat), that memory scores increase! (Craft and colleagues, Archives of Neurology, June 2011) In a study by Krikorian and colleagues (published in Neurobiology of Aging, December 2010), in addition to memory improvements, patients also had improved blood sugar levels, had less insulin resistance and also lost weight. In terms of prevention, there is so much recent data showing that very specific diet changes reduce the chances of developing AD. At the upcoming International Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease meeting in Monte Carlo (October 29-31, 2012) Dr. Isaacson (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine) and Dr. Ochner (Columbia University) will be presenting the latest research on diet and AD.  Their work will outline several dietary strategies (like the Mediterranean-style diet, decreasing carbohydrates, and specific types of Omega-3 fatty acids) that all have positive evidence.

Now, dietary changes will not work for everyone. Depending on a persons genes (a field called Nutrigenomics), their ethnic background, and other medical conditions, for example, diet may work well for some people but not as well for others.  Our philosophy is that if you can delay the onset of AD by 6 months, a year or even 2 years with healthy lifestyle choices and diet, and in that time frame a cure is finally found, then with diet you have effectively “prevented” AD. When it comes to treatment, if you can improve memory function even by 10 or 20%, or slow down the course even slightly, than that is a win-win for everyone involved not only the patient but the entire family.  Therefore, we are strong advocates for dietary changes as one of the many components of AD treatment and prevention.

NOW AVAILABLE! Harvard-trained Neurologist Dr. Isaacson & Nutrition Expert Dr. Ochner Team Up to Fight Alzheimer’s disease and Prevent Memory Loss – Visit www.TheAlzheimersDiet.com to Learn More, Subscribe to our Free Newsletter, and to Read our NEW Alzheimer’s Diet Blog at www.TheADplan.com/alzheimersdietblog. The book includes an overview of the latest scientific research behind diet for AD treatment and prevention, as well as an expanded 9-Week Diet plan (as first publihsed in the book “Alzheimer’s Treatment Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide, 2012 Edition (www.TheADplan.com), along with sample menus, and access to a new online nutrition tracking system.

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About

Harvard-trained Neurologist, Richard S. Isaacson, M.D. currently serves as Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology, Vice Chair of Education, and Education Director of the McKnight Brain Institute in the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, and his medical internship at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, FL. Prior to joining UM, he served as Associate Medical Director of the Wien Center for Alzheimers disease and Memory Disorders at Mount Sinai.

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