The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 994: Learn How One Doctor Is Reversing Alzheimer’s (Archive)

An iterative, multifactorial, personalized approach to optimizing risk factors is critical to reversing Alzheimer's disease successfully.
Alzheimer’s disease research
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Learn How One Doctor Is Reversing Alzheimer’s (Archive)

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Alzheimer’s disease is a prospect as frightening to many of us as cancer, and the treatment options are not promising. Most of the costly medications used in treating this type of dementia do little more than delay its progression by a few weeks or months. The idea that anything might be done to turn back the ravages of this memory robber has seemed an impossible dream.

Optimizing Multiple Factors for Cognitive Recovery:

Now, however, research shows that a novel, multi-faceted approach may be able to reverse cognitive decline. Nine of the first ten patients on this comprehensive, personalized therapeutic program have shown improvement. Not only have the markers of inflammation underlying Alzheimer’s disease become less severe, but they also have had lasting improvement in measures of memory and ability to function and reason. What are the elements and lessons of this therapeutic system?

This radio program first aired on May 30, 2015. We are offering it for re-broadcast on March 5, 2016. You will not want to miss it. Let friends and family know that this could be a game changer for people concerned about cognitive function.

Find a radio station near you or stream the audio live from a station that airs the show. Here is a link to all our participating stations. And if you live in an area where no public radio stations carry The People’s Pharmacy, please ask the program director to consider carrying the show. It is currently free to all public radio broadcasters.

This Week’s Guest:

Dale Bredesen, MD, is the Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology and Director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. He is also Director of Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Founding President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, CA. His research has been published in the journal Aging (Sept. 27, 2014), and in EMBO Molecular Medicine (May 23, 2013) on next generation therapeutics for reversing Alzheimer’s disease. Here is a presentation he gave to the California State Assembly.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I just listened to the podcast & was impressed & interested in learning more about how to adopt some of the suggestions to prevent alzheimers. However, Dr. Bredesen used about 4000 medical & technical terms in a rapid-fire style, & there is no way I could discern much specific information. I got the message that diet & exercise are important, but is there any place that provides specifics, here or elsewhere?

Thanks for any further info.

Since these hopeful study results from Dr. Bredesen’s study first aired on May 30, 2015, I have not heard ANY follow up reports on the original people involved OR that any NEW patients have been able to participate in this multi-faceted approach that actually REVERSED cognitive decline!!

I was SO very impressed and encouraged when I heard the original podcast in 2015, but it has been 2 YEARS and if this study had actually been as effective as stated, I would have hoped that doctors all over the nation and world would have been trained in this approach to start successfully “treating” MANY alzeheimers patients all over the world!

I was SO encouraged by the UCLA study reports because my mom suffers from Alzheimer’s, but SO disappointed that more people suffering from Alzheimer’s aren’t being helped by the study’s findings!

I have family history of dementia, soo i started the diet of no sugar no wheat flour, amd the vitaman regimen he used. It has been 18 months +. I too had begun to find it challenging to adequately do my job as a real estate broker. So i begin to put retirement in motion. I did/do feel much more alert, less foggy mind, function just fine. I did not go back to my job but i am super active with the nonprofits i now work with in areas i really enjoy.

If you missed the broadcast, there are a number of You Tube videos of Dr. Bredesen. Most are dated in 2016, coinciding with a major article that was published.

It appears that this is a run up to a marketing effort to promote his “Bredesen Protocol,” and software that is being marketed to doctors to help identify specific types of dementia and personalize an approach to treatment.
Dr. Bredesen also has a book, “The End of Alzheimers,” being released in August 2017.

My wife’s mother and her aunt both died of alzheimers. Her mother was in a nursing home for 5 years as a total vegetable. No talk, no walk, no recognition, etc. My wife started developing memory problems as much as 10 years ago (age 84 now). We went to the only memory doctor in our area. He tested her and said early onset. I asked him about the newspaper ads for memory loss that touted great success.

He said he was in on the national testing of the soft gel and that it helped but not enough to make it a prescription item. It’s sold as a vitamin called NEURO PS at our health coop. Also, swanson, etc. WHAT ELSE IS WORTH TRYING!!!! Chelation therapy for one to remove as much plaque from the arteries as possible. The alternative med doc also said Ginkgo Bilboa, Huperzine A, the PS, and Vinpocetine—–all there are in a vitamin sold by Healthy Choice Naturals called MIND MATRIX.

NOW, DR PERLMUTTER just reported that a test of feeding people probiotics improved their memory function dramatically.

My husband has Alzheimer’s. I do foresee a time in the very near future when a drug can assist recovery of memory. However, I do not believe it will be in time to help my husband.

The two main things which breaks my heart is one– his inability to verbally express just what it is he wants to convey. The loss of verbal skill frustrates and angers him to no end. However, he has a wonderful sense of humor and can dish out short comebacks with good humor.

The second thing is that he quite often does not stand close enough to urinate in the toilet bowl completely. Urine is partially in the bowl, on the floor or in the plastic waste basket. He cannot understand why this is happening.

He is on two memory medications which are taken together.

I have been taking turmeric and now curcumin for my arthritis pain and has helped alot for almost 3 1/2 years. Glad to see it suggested as a natural supplement to avoid Alzheimer’s. My wife would also take it but she is on blood thinner (Pradaxa) for afib. Those on the med should avoid turmeric which apparently has some blood thinning characteristics. Since curcumin is an extract of turmeric, must that be avoided when on blood thinner?

Some annotations to the presentation from a rural primary care general internist:

Model of plasticity of synaptic connections as being the fundamental issue in Alheimer’s understates the role of the microvasculature. It is highly likely that the brain’s microvasculature and its dysfunction is the root cause of neurodegeneration including in Alheimer’s Disease. Much of what was said during this radio show implied that but did not synthesize it, so here are my suggestions:

1) investigate light flicker vasoresponsiveness of the retinal vessels as a potentially very inexpensive, safe and even primary care available screen for early vascular dysfunction of the retinal vessels that could be mirrored in the brain small vessels. There are studies out of Europe and the USA about assessing the retinal vasculature for assessement of small vessel dysfunction of the brain

2) The Montreal cognition screen is known to be a better indicator of small blood vessel dysfunction than the Mini-Mental-Status-Exam. It should be part of a primary care screen for cognitive impairment and possible small vessel dysfunction of the brain.

3) As mentioned attention to vascular disease risk factors is an important aspect of developing an overall screen of RISK for Alzheimer’s disease. As mentioned there are multiple risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease BUT one must hone in on those Risk Factors that make up the bulk of the RISK AND can be measured in primary care practice with sanctioning of the testing by appropriate necessity coding OR I warn that the order ofr parameters such as homocysteine levels will bounce. In fact have you tried to screen Medicare patients for A1c’s, homocysteine, Vitamin D, Apo E-etc and not got a request for a necessity code justification? You need to get together a sensible test series that could be included in many cohort’s sanctioned “Wellness and Prevention Exam” at the cost of the insurance company OR faciity code pricing will stifle any attempt to do primary care risk factor screening. Consider getting the Instant Medical History (PRIMETIME Software) folks in South Carolina to develop a screening self-administered questionnaire for administration to the physician and to the patient with the answers to the questions converted into “codable entities” that can be intersected with each other and the medical literature using the free, “artificial intelligence endabled” GRUFF Browser.

4) Attention should be paid to the implications of the Nun Study for even how one structures one’s syntax and its protective factor implications. The use of one’s brain to discover new complex relationships and its effect on “synapse plasticity” and neurovascular unit function of the brain is an important aspect of both RISK determination and most likely therapeutic intervention.

5) The effect of salsalate on insulin resistance & A1c, overall vascular risk factors, the denial of the existence of salsalate by CMS and its potential as both a safe analgesic for elders and multi-factorial reducer of RISK of Alheimer’s beg the question: Why can’t salsalate be made an OTC analgesic by the FDA obviating the need for a brain dead CMS to realize that salsalate might be the idea combined analgesic and anti-Alzheimer’s medication that might actually plug significantly more than a few “holes”.

6) GoTo Kola (Centella Asiatica) has recently been shown in combination with Pycnogenol to have a significant anti-angina effect in a FOUR YEAR study. You mentioned GoTo Kola but did not mention its anti-oxidative stress and pro-endothelial dysfunction properties. One could predict that a combination of Centella Asiatica, Pycnogenol, CoQ10, Curcumin Phytosome, salsalate, Benfotiamine and Nrf2 nuclear factor activation anti-oxidants, some of which you mentioned, could possibly offer a cost-effective OTC that could be applied to one “multi-pharmaceutical intervention trial” along with other customized interventions as methylfolate (at not too large a dose).

7) lower glycemic index / load diets (The Schwarzbein Principle), diets high in DHA/EPA (or possibly enteric coated fish oil), diets high in multigrains especially rye, oats, buckwheat, use of the purple sweet potato natural dye extract in an apple cider vinegar / olive oil dressing, the eating of dark purple vegetables in general – especially grown organically in one’s own garden, regular walking exercise – 30 minutes for covering 2 miles – deletion of artificial sweetners as aspartame, doing mental exercises like discovering new relationships, keeping a daily diary whereby one notes down in complex and compound and even run on sentences new findings and relationships between findings all together could complement a rational and inexpensive set of OTC’s.

What is the source of the supplements used by Dr. Bredesen?

I wish I caught the name of the website the Dr. referred to. Do you have it?

Simply testing to see how bodies metabolize medications could save both quality of lives from overdoses and possibly lives. Twenty-two years as intake worker for elderly and disabled made me aware that they can’t tolerate meds like younger people. Now I am living proof of DNA testing saving me from possible overdoses and other dementia symptoms.

I did not see that the program would be broadcast on March 5, until today, which is March 8. Too bad.

Carrie, you can listen to the podcast (as I’m doing now).

Dr Bredesen’s approach is hopeful for memory loss patients. Since age related Macular Degeneration is so problematic in today’s world, is there similar multifactoral research available for AMD? If so, I would appreciate data about AMD research.

I missed this broadcast when it first aired in 2015, so having it repeated (March 2016) is a huge gift and very much appreciated. Thank you so much for the wonderful “service” People’s Pharmacy provides.

The multifactorial approach is necessary to treat most cases of atherosclerosis, migraines, and recurrent fever blisters. Dr.Bredesen’s personalized approach to dementia should be inspiring to physicians and patients alike.

I like others who have commented above have severe hearing loss, so podcasts are of little use to me. Is there any way to provide transcripts again? Is there any federal funding available, for instance?

I wonder. Has there always been as much Alzheimer’s, even if not recognized as such, as there seems to be today?

Or is this some sort of modern day epidemic from seemingly out of nowhere?

There is a supplement I’ve been taking that puts me to sleep very soundly and even increases my REM sleep so that I’ve been waking up feeling pretty rested and even remember my dreams. It even seems to resolve depression that has been haunting me. The ingredients are: Chamomile Flower Ext. 500mg.; Hops Flower Ext., 500mg.; Valerian Root Extract 500mg; (all standardized). Other ingredients list gelatin. I’ve been ordering this product from Swanson Herbs.
P.S. I’m a senior (pretty far up) and, so far, in pretty good health!

I’m in my 70s and must say that when I switched from drinking tea to 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day that my memory and mental function has become much better. I also take vitamins but have been taking these for years without the same effect as coffee. Therefore, I have to relate these changes to including coffee in my daily diet. This supports the recent studies that indicated the positive effects of coffee on dementia.

I started the vitamin regimen he suggests and eliminated flour and sugar from my diet. I had retired early because of memory issues, Alzheimer’s prevalent in my mothers family.
Also stopped taking Zocor generic and now take only 5mg of Lipitor (1/2 the min dose)
The results have been really great. Still glad I retired !! But I could have carried on after only 6 months on the regimen. Has now been over a year, feel better than ever and very much more clear headed.

Just wanted to add that if anyone has a dog with canine dementia, the Bredesen protocol works for dogs too. It didn’t take six months either, more like a couple of weeks. He no longer waits at the hinge end of a door to get in, doesn’t get stuck in awkward places, and his nighttime agitation has gone.

Dale Bredesen deserves a Nobel prize. I have my beautiful doggy back. “Thank you” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Thank you so much for this. What a breath of hope!
Terry and Joe: you are a voice of reason in a wilderness of ignorance and doom.
Grateful for all you do. Thank you.

I appreciated the hope instilled through this research and these positive outcomes! Thanks for airing this interview. I have had one question that puzzles me about dementia based on something I read in the book “God’s Hotel” by Dr. Victoria Sweet where she describes the curious disappearance of chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes and even cancer in the dementia patients she cared for in her hospital. As I understood it patients who developed dementia were usually “freed” from their previous chronic “physical” diseases. I noticed the same thing happening to my father who developed dementia and suddenly no longer needed his blood pressure medication (he had suffered hypertension for decades). This really made me pause and think what might be going on here, as these types of illnesses are obviously caused by many of the same causative elements Dr. Bredesen addresses with his approach (anti-inflammatory diet, stress relief etc.). Any thoughts on this?

Here’s the article that Dr. Bredesen published in the Sept. 2014 issue of _Aging_. He referred to it in the show – and it’s available free online through PubMed.

From the abstract: “This report describes a novel, comprehensive, and personalized therapeutic program that is based on the underlying pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and which involves multiple modalities designed to achieve metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND). ”

Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program.

thanks, as always, for the show, Joe & Terry. :-)

Hearing this approach makes me very hopeful since I am in my 50’s and have time to change my behavior and change my risk for Alzheimer’s. My mother, who is 95 this year and my father-in-law, both struggled with the disease. Once we got my mom into a memory unit her interaction with the world improved with a better diet, socialization and memory games.

I’m awaiting the release of the doctor’s book with keen interest.

I want the app for my smart phone that will help me track this multi-path approach!

Thyroid seems to be near the top of the list. So what about thyroid? What about fluoride as a thyrotoxin? What about iodine deficiency? I’m going to go take 15 mg of iodine, now that I have been reminded of the critical importance of the thyroid.

Vitamin D is near the top of the list as well. What about it’s essential partner, vitamin A? I think I’m going to make up some chicken livers for lunch, since vitamin D was mentioned. Speaking of vitamin D, what about naturally generating vitamin D from sunlight, which also produces sulphated cholesterol, and, as well, I suspect, many other compounds essential for health, which have yet to be defined?

Did I miss the part about coconut oil being a better brain fuel than glucose for those suffering from Alzheimer’s? I guess that would be included in switching from glucose to fat as fuel.
So, lets see: 1) Iodine; 2) Chicken livers; 3) Sunshine; 4) Coconut oil. That should fill some of the holes in the Alzheimer’s roof.

I’ll let you know how that works out.

Sincerely, Russ

Russ, go easy with the Iodine. I’ve heard of a handful of folks who’s bodies didn’t respond well to that high a dose. Maybe it would be wise to do a thorough thyroid check up first, including TPO, ATG, TSH. FT3, FT4 and RevT3, possibly along with a 24-hr Iodine challenge test.

To follow up on another comment, it would be a wonderful service to list Dr. Braeden’s “disciples” around the country. As the show pointed out, many doctors don’t believe in this line of research, so I imagine finding a neurologist in Buffalo who does is going to be a challenge.

I am already gluten free and following Dr Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain. I have significant alzheimer’s in my family and have had symptoms myself which have been reversed with diet and qigong meditation. This was extremely helpful. Thanks

Dr Bredesen mentions curcumin as being important for reducing Alzheimer’s Disease. Also, recently the People’s Pharmacy has discussed curcumin frequently to improve many health issues. Does anyone know of a good source of BCM-95 curcumin that passed’s testing ( That is: Progressive Labs Curcumin BCM-95 or Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin (I think this one is BCM-95).

It is very refreshing to see research on the causes of diseases rather than on covering up symptoms like the mode we have been in. The human body can do wonders if we only let it do so. Can’t wait to read the book.

How can I obtain his book?

It’s our understanding that he’s still working on finishing it, and it’s not yet out.

Dr Bredesen mentioned curcumin as being important for reducing Alzheimer’s Disease. Also, lately curcumin has been discussed frequently on the People’s Pharmacy as related to many health issues. Does anyone know of a source of BCM-95 curcumin that passed’s testing?

I so wish the podcasts were available as text. I read quickly and would love to read the content, rather than listen. Any chance that transcripts can be made available?

Thanks for a GREAT resource!

I am profoundly deaf and if I can’t read lips, forget it. I would love a transcript of that show also.

Very informative. I will be buying the Dr.’s book.

There really is no way to reverse A.D. However, a person can slow down the decline with daily walks. Even just a few minutes a day, everyday (weather permitting)–even if one has to use a walker. The problem with medications is that they impair balance even more and they are already at high risk for falling–they do nothing to “improve” A.D. but merely mask symptoms for a short time only.

I’m so happy to hear you have a book coming out. I have been trying to follow the program from what I have pieced together from your articles and talks online. Can’t wait for the book.

Just to be clear, it is Dr. Dale Bredesen who is working on this book. We are also very excited that he will be putting this information out there.

I would have loved to hear what he thought about the nuns study which showed that some nuns had a brain that looked like Alzheimer’s showed no symptoms when they were alive.
It’s not too surprising that just about every aspect of his treatment has to do with healthy lifestyle and a few medicinal herbs.

I am looking forward to listening to the radio broadcast this afternoon. Here is one thing I have learned recently. Vitamin B deficiency can cause memory problems very similar to Altzeimers. I was having very bad memory problems (my age is 72) but these problems were greatly eliminated, not totally, when I started taking Vit B supplements. Apparently iron deficiency can cause similar symptoms. Apparently older people have problems with absorbing these vitamins even when the foods they eat have the vitamins.

Wonderful talk

Love your show. Unfortunately, I only caught the tale end of Dr Bredesen’s talk regarding Alzheimer’s and different herbs/supplements.
I have early onset dementia and the signs point towards frontal-temporal disease (aka: Pick’s or FTD). Would the supplements he spoke of help reverse my FTD?

Great information. Really appreciate how you unpack a complex problem and make it easy to access.

I love listening to the show on Saturday mornings. I am a 54 yr old Type 1 diabetic and due to severe insomnia I am having a very difficult time. I have a lot of memory loss and suspect that I could develop early onset Alzheimer’s. Could Joe or Terry direct me to a neurologist in my area who could help me? Most doctors just want to give me a sleeping pill. They don’t work however and I find it difficult to find anyone who can successfully treat Type 1 diabetes. Any help or direction would be appreciated. Thanks!

I just noted in Dr. Low Dog’s “Fortify your Life” that insulin increases excretion of magnesium. a mineral already deficient in most people, and a key factor in sleep, as well as numerous other body processes.

Are there any clinics or specialists in the North Texas area who follow the diagnostic procedures and recommendations described by Dr. Bredesen?

Both my parents had Alzheimer’s – one also had Parkinson’s
Is there a doctor or clinic in NC doing this work?


Duke neurology has an Alzheimers section. You could contact them and ask if anyone there is using the Bredesen protocol.
Good luck!

Joe and Terry,

Looking forward to hearing Dr Bredesen on your program tomorrow. Alzheimers is such an important topic; I was blown away by the article in Aging. Thanks for everything you do!

Terry and Joe,
Looking forward to the book! Thank you for including the articles from the journals on the website. When the book comes out please have Dr. Bredesen back on your show.

Dale Bredesen, MD, is the real Alzheimer’s champion! I am so grateful with the work he has published including the test to help measure certain brain functions. He will probably be a major contributor to finding the cure for AD and dementia.

how is it that practically all MD’S are prescribing either donazepil or /or memantine even to mildly cognitively impaired elderly (over 80) patients the adverse effects of both these drugs such as tiredness and diarrhea
are so overwhelming -so you postpone-further dementia(?) maybe and live tired-sick and no guarantee that these do any good?

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