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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Individualized Alzheimer’s Treatments: A New Frontier in Disease Reversal

Dec 29, 2023 08:24AM ● By Dana Thacker, BSN, RN
Individualized Alzheimer's Treatments


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and the numbers are expected to rise to nearly 13 million by 2050. In addition to the loss of cherished memories, more than 11 million unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 18 billion hours of care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients annually. Given the costs and burdens of the disease, many people wonder whether Alzheimer’s is reversible. Recent discoveries indicate that may be possible.

Understanding the Mechanisms of Alzheimer’s

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe Alzheimer’s disease as a neurodegenerative condition that results in cognitive decline, memory loss and deficits in language and behavior. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the most common reason for dementia in older adults. During the early stages of the disease, neurons within the brain become damaged without apparent symptoms. This destruction can occur for a decade without recognition, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment. Protein buildup forces healthy neurons to stop functioning and sever connections, which likely provokes brain cell death and shrinkage.


Breakthrough in Treatment

Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease offers new hope for patients. Twenty-five participants with pre-Alzheimer’s or early-stage dementia were evaluated to identify potential contributors to cognitive decline using brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetic testing and other biomarkers. The scientists then designed an individualized, precision medical protocol for each patient. 


Cognitive testing after the nine-month treatments showed that 84 percent of the participants not only maintained neurological function, but also improved cognition. A follow-up MRI also showed an increase in gray matter volume. The researchers noted in their report that a larger, controlled trial is warranted.


“Dementia is not a death sentence,” states Kat Toups, a functional medicine psychiatrist and co-contributor to the precision medicine approach research. In her own practice, she embraces a patient-centric, multimodal approach to treating Alzheimer’s that focuses on three components—infection, inflammation and immunity. By reducing inflammation and treating infections, she asserts, the body is ready to receive immune-building therapies.


Answering the Skeptics

Mainstream medicine has been going about [Alzheimer’s treatment] the wrong way. I was taught to make a diagnosis, then write a prescription for something that doesn’t work,” says Dr. Dale Bredesen, a co-contributor to the aforementioned study. Recent trials have suggested that current pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer’s, such as Donanemab, merely slow the rate of disease progression, rather than reverse its effects.


With his personalized, precision-medicine approach, Bredesen aims to do better. He equates Alzheimer’s to COVID-19, noting, “When the pandemic hit, nations entered protection mode. Economies suffered and went into a recession. In the same way, receptors within our brain can also go into a recession or protection mode. However, when these same receptors receive adequate resources, they continue to grow and make connections. Neurons shift from protection mode to connection mode, reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s.”


The Bredesen Protocol

Based on his research, Bredesen asserts that Alzheimer’s is the result of an imbalance in the brain’s neuroplasticity signaling. He has identified 36 factors that can trigger downsizing in the brain, including metabolic derangement, poor nutrient status, lack of trophic support [chemical signaling] and exposure to viruses. The Bredesen Protocol is designed to change a patient’s biochemistry to correct those imbalances by addressing patient-specific triggers.


Apollo Health, where Bredesen is chief science officer, has developed a software algorithm that uses patient data from medical questionnaires, laboratory testing and cognitive assessments to offer an analysis of the patient’s cognitive risk factors and a personalized treatment plan designed to prevent and reverse cognitive decline. The patient works with practitioners and coaches trained in the protocol to implement the treatment plan, which covers seven areas: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, brain stimulation, detoxification and supplements. The individualized nature of Bredesen's Protocol is foundational to the program's success.


To learn more or to find a practitioner or coach trained in the Bredesen Protocol visit


Dana Thacker is a registered nurse with a passion for cures over treatments and naturopathy over pharmaceuticals.