Interventions That May Slow Memory Loss in Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Sherry Christiansen
By Sherry ChristiansenApril 4, 2018

There are many interventions that have been recently targeted in clinical research studies, aimed at preventing the onset of early  Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more about the primary interventions for early Alzheimer’s and how you can implement them to prevent memory loss in your life.

Interventions That May Slow Early Alzheimer’s

There are several stages of Alzheimer’s disease, (including stage 1, 2 and 3), as defined by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging:

  1. Stage 1 means that Alzheimer’s has started in the brain, but there are no symptoms of memory loss yet — this stage can last up to 20 years.
  2. Stage 2 involves mild changes in memory and perhaps in thinking skills as well (this stage is also called mild cognitive impairment or MCI for short).
  3. Stage 3 indicates that memory and thinking skills are so impaired that a person needs help to complete daily activities of living (such as bathing and eating). Stage 3 is also referred to as late-stage or Alzheimer’s dementia.

The primary areas of prevention that may slow memory loss in early stages of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Changing modifiable risk factors such as losing weight and quitting smoking
  • Cognitive activities (such as playing music and reading)
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Other lifestyle changes (such as getting enough sleep each day)
  • Physical exercise
  • Prevention of other high-risk factors (such as diabetes and high blood pressure)

The Popular Approach to Early Alzheimer’s Prevention

One popular, relatively new approach to Alzheimer’s prevention, that is backed up by scientific research, is a customized protocol. This is called a “multimodal intervention.” This means that based on each individual person, the Alzheimer’s prevention, care plan is different — considering many factors (including biomarkers (a measurable substance whose presence is indicative a disease), genetics and risk factors.

Alzheimer’s risk factors that can be changed (modifiable risk factors) are things like:

  • Blood pressure control
  • Obesity (weight loss)
  • Smoking

Those that cannot be controlled (non-modifiable risk factors) include:

  • Age (the most influential of all the risk factors)
  • Gender (women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s than men)
  • Genetics

Multimodal interventions thought to slow memory loss include:

  1. Engaging in cognitive activities (such as music, reading or writing).
  2. Engaging in regular physical exercise.
  3. Implementing the Alzheimer’s diet (Mediterranean diet, MIND diet or the FINGER diet).
  4. Maintaining a good sleep pattern.
  5. Reducing stress.
  6. Staying informed of new Alzheimer’s prevention tools.
  7. Staying socially engaged.

There has been a phenomenal increase in evidence from clinical research studies finding that changing the diet promotes brain health across the continuum of Alzheimer’s. Diet has also been found to help improve normal age-related cognitive decline.

Nutrients that have been studied for Alzheimer’s prevention include:

  • Antioxidants (flavanols)
  • Folic acid, B6 and B12
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (from wild caught cold water fish such as salmon)
  • Vitamin D

It’s vital to understand that the term “prevention” means many things when it comes to Alzheimer’s, such as interventions that may prevent a person at high risk from progressing to early Alzheimer’s disease or MCI. Prevention measures could also be aimed at preventing early Alzheimer’s from progressing to Alzheimer’s dementia — this is where most of the research studies have focused.

Another application for intervention calls for earlier diagnoses before symptoms arise. Many medical experts feel this is where hope lies in future prevention success.

Although there are many promising new prevention measures being studied for Alzheimer’s disease today, many more clinical research studies are needed to enable scientists to learn which interventions help prevent the onset and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Have you tried any of these interventions to slow memory loss in early Alzheimer’s? What was your experience like? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.

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Sherry Christiansen

Sherry Christiansen

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