Main Presentation: “Reversing Alzheimer’s Disease” by Dr. Dale Bredesen, MD
Alzheimer’s disease affects 5 million people in the U.S. and about 30 million worldwide. Until now, the prognosis seemed poor for this population Dale Bredesen MD, the founding president of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, has developed a program which has had success in reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. His research model addresses several possible disease components at once (diet, exercise, etc.) rather than testing one drug at a time to rule out the effects from other drugs or interventions. Bredesen says that studying one drug at a time is like patching one hole in a roof that has dozens of holes.
After intense testing of a patient, Dr. Bredesen determines which factors have gone awry, and personalizes a program to correct the issues.
Among the measures he recommends:
- A diet that eliminates processed foods and other unhealthy ingredients, and boosts fruits, vegetables and healthy fish
- Stress reduction with meditation, yoga, music or other means
- Eight hours of sleep a night
- At least 30 minutes of exercise four to six times a week
- Very good oral hygiene
- Improvement of gut health with probiotics and prebiotics
- Fasting for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and three hours or more between dinner and bedtime, to keep insulin levels low
Published in the September Journal Aging, he did a study on ten patients. Nine of the 10 patients improved. Six who had been on leave from work or were struggling with work due to memory loss and other Alzheimer’s-related issues returned or improved their work performance. The one patient who did not improve was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. One 67 year old patient is still doing well after three years. She had a demanding job when her memory issues surfaced. She couldn’t finish work reports properly and would even forget her longtime pets’ names. Within months of beginning the program, she was doing well at work. “Four times she went off the program and each time she got worse. When she went back on, she went back to normal.”
Dr. Bredesen is internationally recognized as an expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. He graduated from Caltech, then earned his MD from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. He served as Chief Resident in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) before joining Nobel laureate Stanley Prusiner’s laboratory at UCSF as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow. He held faculty positions at UCSF, UCLA and the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Bredesen directed the Program on Aging at the Burnham Institute before coming to the Buck Institute in 1998 as its founding President and CEO.
The uniform failure of recent drug trials in Alzheimer’s disease has highlighted the critical need for a more accurate understanding of the fundamental nature of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Bredesen’s research has led to new insight that explains the erosion of memory seen in Alzheimer’s disease, and has opened the door to a new therapeutic approach. He has found evidence that Alzheimer’s disease stems from an imbalance in nerve cell signaling: in the normal brain, specific signals foster nerve connections and memory making, while balancing signals support memory breaking, allowing irrelevant information to be forgotten. But in Alzheimer’s disease, the balance of these opposing signals is disturbed, nerve connections are suppressed, and memories are lost. This model is contrary to popular dogma that Alzheimer’s is a disease of toxicity, caused by the accumulation of sticky plaques in the brain. Bredesen believes the amyloid beta peptide, the source of the plaques, has a normal function in the brain — promoting signals that allow some of the nerve connections to lapse. Thus the increase in the peptide that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease shifts the memory-making vs. memory-breaking balance in favor of memory loss. This work has led to the identification of several new therapeutic candidates that are currently in pre-clinical trials.
Dr. Bredesen’s novel insights into the fundamental nature of Alzheimer’s disease recently attracted an investment of $3.5 million toward a $10 million goal for initial clinical trials of these new therapeutics. This generous support came from the private venture capitalist Douglas Rosenberg, who is helping to fund the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Network, centered at the Buck Institute. The unit is screening drug candidates to find those that can preserve a healthy balance in the signaling pathways that support memory. Dr. Bredesen’s work on nerve cell signaling is also the focus of a collaboration between the Buck Institute and BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is seeking treatments for a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease, early onset Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (eFAD), which may develop in people as young as 30 years of age.
Short Presentation: “Hypometabolism: A Modern Pandemic ” by Steve Fowkes
What is hypometabolism? What are the symptoms? Why is it so common? What’s the up and down side of having a low basal metabolism? How is it tied to autoimmune diseases, autism, chronic fatigue conditions, oxidative stress, opportunistic infections and Alzheimer’s disease? How can you measure it in your own life? And what can you do to fix it?
Steve Fowkes is a longstanding member of Silicon Valley Health Institute community and was actually the first speaker when the Smart Life Forum was started by Katherine Grosz more than two decades ago. Most members know of him as the guy who answers a lot of the questions at the beginning of the meetings. But Steve has been researching biochemistry, nutrition, metabolism and aging for more than 40 years. He is an author, editor, public speaker, and consultant to companies and individuals. He was a biohacker before the term biohacking was coined. Many of his talks and public appearances are online.
For more info, read the newsletter.
NOTE: Meeting starts promptly at 7pm. Main speaker presentation begins at 7:20 p.m.