Lifestyle changes, not a magic pill, can reverse Alzheimer’s

Last summer, a research group from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) quietly published the results of a new approach in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. What they found was striking. Although the size of the study was small, every participant demonstrated such marked improvement that almost all were found to be in the normal range on testing for memory and cognition by the study’s end. Functionally, this amounts to a cure.

These are important findings, not only because Alzheimer’s disease is projected to become ever more common as the population ages, but because current treatment options offer minimal improvement at best. Last July, a large clinical trial found little benefit in patients receiving a major new drug called LMTX. And after that, another hopeful drug designed to target amyloid protein, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, failed its first large clinical trial as well.  Just two months ago, Merck announced the results of its trial of a drug called verubecestat, which is designed to inhibit formation of amyloid protein. It was found to be no better than placebo.  

The results from UCLA aren’t due to an incredible new drug or medical breakthrough, though. Rather, the researchers used a protocol consisting of a variety of different lifestyle modifications to optimise metabolic parameters – such as inflammation and insulin resistance – that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants were counselled to change their diet (a lot of veggies), exercise, develop techniques for stress management, and improve their sleep, among other interventions. The most common ‘side effect’ was weight loss.

The study is notable not only for its remarkable outcomes, but also for the alternative paradigm it represents in the treatment of a complex, chronic disease. We’ve spent billions of dollars in an effort to understand the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s in the hope that it will lead to a cure, or at least to more effective therapies. And although we have greatly enlarged our knowledge of the disease, it has not yielded many successful treatments.

The situation is analogous in kind, if not quite degree, to the many other chronic diseases with which we now struggle, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While we do have efficacious medications for these conditions, none work perfectly, and all have negative effects. Our understanding of the cellular processes at the root of these diseases is sophisticated, but technical mastery – the grail of a cure – has remained elusive.

Acknowledging these difficulties, the researchers at UCLA opted for a different approach. Beginning from the premise that Alzheimer’s disease is a particular manifestation of a highly complex system in disarray, they sought to optimise the system by changing the inputs. Put another way, the scientists chose to set aside the molecular box which has proven so vexing, and to focus instead on the context of the box itself. Although we cannot say precisely how the intervention worked, on a cellular level, the important thing is that it did work.

The method isn’t entirely novel. Researchers have already shown that multi-faceted, comprehensive lifestyle interventions can significantly improve outcomes in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. But it’s difficult for these approaches to gain traction for two reasons. First, these protocols are more challenging than simply taking a pill at bedtime. Patients need ongoing education, counselling and support to effect meaningful change. And second, the pharmaceutical mode of treatment is deeply embedded within our current medical system. Insurance companies are set up to pay for medication, not lifestyle change; and physicians are taught pharmacology, not nutrition.

Despite these difficulties, it’s time to start taking these approaches much more seriously. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple over the next three decades, to nearly 14 million in the United States alone. Diabetes and other chronic diseases are expected to follow a similar trajectory. Trying to confront this epidemic with medication alone will raise a new host of problems, from prohibitive cost to adverse effects, without addressing any underlying cause. We know that comprehensive lifestyle modification can work for many chronic diseases, in some cases as well as medication. It deserves more than passing mention at the end of an annual check-up – it’s time to make it a cornerstone in the treatment not only of Alzheimer’s disease, but of all chronic disease.Aeon counter – do not remove

Clayton Dalton

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Take this drug and live to 120!


Read all about it! Take this drug and live to 120!

Metformin is being touted  as a candidate for keeping people alive until they are 120! (sourceDaily Telegraph)

Should we clap our hands with excitement? NO!

The very notion of using a drug to stay alive should set off alarm bells with every person.  Metformin is a generic drug, which means that no one in particular owns the rights to produce it. At the present time, it is cheap. If a drugs giant wanted to, they could corner the market and increase the price. This is every drug company’s boss dream come true!

What is metformin (sometimes misnamed Metmorphine) currently prescribed for? It regulates blood glucose levels in diabetes patients. This is without the side effect of straight insulin, which is an increase in body weight.

In the context of longevity, what is Metformin supposed to do? According to the article:

“Metformin increases the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, which appears to boost robustness and longevity.”

Do we need a drug to do that? Have they not heard that a practice known as Buteyko Breathing does exactly that? I am doing Buteyko breathing as a part of the Sakharoff Path of Strong Health course. So, according to this research, I am also going to live until I am 120 – without drugs!

Why are we so keen to take drugs for every condition? Drugs are typically synthetic biochemical substances. They are prescribed to suppress the symptoms of physiological conditions. Not necessarily to cure the condition. The efficacy is based on evidence. The evidence does not show  if it affects other body systems. Especially if drug companies fund the research.

57  years more of taking a drug without side effects; are you kidding me?

According to, the main side effects of metformin are:

” Commonly reported side effects of metformin include: lactic acidosis, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, nausea and vomiting, and flatulence. Other side effects include: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, decreased vitamin b12 serum concentrate, and weakness.”

Now the rest:

  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort
  • cough or hoarseness
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • fast or shallow breathing
  • fever or chills
  • general feeling of discomfort
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle pain or cramping
  • painful or difficult urination
  • sleepiness

Less common:

  • Anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chest discomfort
  • cold sweats
  • coma
  • confusion
  • cool, pale skin
  • depression
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • dizziness
  • fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling of warmth
  • headache
  • increased hunger
  • increased sweating
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • seizures
  • shakiness
  • shortness of breath
  • slurred speech
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • wheezing


  • Behavior change similar to being drunk
  • difficulty with concentrating
  • drowsiness
  • lack or loss of strength
  • restless sleep
  • unusual sleepiness

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with metformin may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloated
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • passing of gas
  • stomachache
  • stomach upset or pain
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Less common:

  • Abnormal stools
  • bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • change in taste
  • difficulty with moving
  • discoloration of the fingernails or toenails
  • flu-like symptoms
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • stuffy nose
  • swollen joints

To the best of my knowledge, Buteyko breathing has NONE of the side effects. But it does the same thing as “scientists” claim Metformin does.

In short, Buteyko Breathing encourages retention of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood. This facilitates the release of oxygen from haemeglobin to the cells. This, oxygenating cells. The Bohr Effect. Look it up.

I, for one, prefer a physical method of attaining longevity over taking drugs. Any drugs. What about you?