Books

Working to reverse the cognitive decline of dementia

This book sets forth a programme the author claims can prevent and even reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

Book cover of 'The end of Alzheimer's'

The end of Alzheimer’s: the first programme to prevent and reverse the cognitive decline of dementia

By Dale E Bredesen. Pp 308. Price £14.99. London: Avery Publishing; 2017. ISBN 978 1 78504 122-8

Ageing is associated with a range of health-related problems and while we gracefully accept the inevitable decline in our athletic prowess, for many, potential loss of cognitive function ranks as one of the most difficult aspects of the process. Dementia (of which the most common form is Alzheimer’s disease) affects a large number of people. According to Dementia UK, there will be more than a million people with dementia by 2025. To date, there is no convincing evidence that dementia can be cured. This book challenges that premise and describes a programme to prevent and reverse the disease. Written by a leading expert in neurodegenerative disease, the book claims that the programme, called RECODE (reversing cognitive decline), offers real hope of preventing and even reversing Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

The book is organised into three sections and starts with examples of patients who have been pulled back from the disease after following the RECODE programme. The next section provides a comprehensive explanation of the disease and finishes by describing the programme in some detail.

In the second part, the author takes you on his own journey of discovery in relation to the disease. I’m sure most pharmacists will be aware that Alzheimer’s disease has something to do with the build-up of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain. What is perhaps less well known is how and why these plaques form.

With clarity, Bredesen describes how our brains constantly remodel memory connections, build new ones and remove those that are no longer needed. For instance, we need to remember how to drive a car, but don’t need to retain what we ate for lunch yesterday. It turns out that in people with Alzheimer’s disease, this balance is disturbed and there is more synaptic removal than replacement.

Of course, in reality, it’s more complicated and the author does a great job of explaining how all the pieces fit together. It turns out that there are 36 metabolic factors involved in the development of Alzheimer’s, which probably explains why current drugs, that invariably target only one or two processes, are largely ineffective.

I was looking forward to the final section to see if there is anything I can do now to prevent a decline in my own cognitive powers. Sadly, this is where the book becomes very long and frankly tedious. The simple take-home message is that we need to adopt a healthy diet, exercise more and reduce our levels of stress — often more easily said than done. The author describes, in far too much detail, which foods are good for the brain and which foods should be avoided, although the list of culprits is rather predictable (too much sugar and saturated fats, for example).

Despite my reservations, this book provides a lot of interesting information and has certainly taught me a lot about Alzheimer’s disease, and I think pharmacists will also find it of value. Although the author really pushes the programme, the published study that forms its basis involved only ten patients, so further work is needed to clarify these initial results.

While nobody doubts the health benefits of a good diet and regular exercise, it seems that we can now add improved cognitive function to the list.

Rod Tucker

Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204227

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Social and Cognitive Pharmacy

    Social and Cognitive Pharmacy is a practical handbook for learning and teaching sociology and psychology, and applying this to pharmacy practice.

    £33.00
  • Disease Management

    Disease Management covers the diseases commonly encountered in primary care by system, with common therapeutic issues. Includes case studies and self-assessment sections.

    £54.00
  • Minor Illness or Major Disease

    This established textbook helps you differentiate between minor illnesses which can be safely managed in the pharmacy, and major diseases.

    £43.00
  • Biological Therapeutics

    An introduction to the treatment of disease using biological medicines derived from living plant and animal tissues.

    £33.00
  • Sampson's Textbook of Radiopharmacy

    This well-established textbook provides specialised information on the use of radiopharmaceuticals in the detection and treatment of diseases.

    £81.00
  • Zoonoses

    An accessible textbook covering zoonotic diseases, which affect humans but are contracted from animals.

    £48.00

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete

Supplementary images

  • Book cover of 'The end of Alzheimer's'

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.

steroid-pharm.com

steroid-pharm.com

капсулы вимакс инструкция