A New Frontier in Alzheimer's disease

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Worried about your memory? 

Many patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and individuals concerned about developing memory loss feel they have limited options.  While there is no 'magic pill' to cure or prevent AD, a new book outlines a cutting-edge approach to systematically address this disease.   

Besides eating properly and exercising, there are several useful strategies for managing AD, according to Richard S. Isaacson, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and author of the new book, "Alzheimer's Treatment, Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide."

"As a physician and someone who has several family members with Alzheimer's, it's important I provide as many resources possible to help patients and their families manage this condition," said Dr. Isaacson.  "After seeing success with my own patients, I wrote this book to educate those who I will not get a chance to see in my clinic and may not be aware of all their options." 

While the significant increase in AD cases is due to many factors, including the aging of the population and improved ability to accurately diagnose patients, data suggests that changes in diet and nutrition patterns may also be causative.  One of the proactive approaches for managing AD described in Dr. Isaacson's book involves a nine-week diet modification plan, since new research demonstrates protective qualities of food selection on brain health.  Other therapeutic options recommended include non-drug approaches such as physical exercise, music activity and educational programs, specific vitamins, two supplements and a medical food.

Dr. Arthur Agatston, author of the New York Times best-seller The South Beach Diet comments: "Dr. Isaacson and I speak the same language and are on the same page when it comes to dietary changes for disease prevention.  His cutting-edge approach is exactly where we need to be in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.  Dr. Isaacson is a renowned expert who blends advanced science with practical insights for the new standard of treatment and prevention.  I will continue to recommend his innovative book to my patients."

Additionally, certain vitamins have been shown to both improve memory function in "pre-AD," or mild cognitive impairment patients, and increase the effect of certain FDA-approved drugs that treat AD.  New data also suggests that certain therapies may preferentially work in patients with a specific genetic make-up.  "Understanding these differences is essential for those affected by Alzheimer's or concerned about memory loss," said Dr. Isaacson.

Just as you can sing the blues away, you might be able to do the same thing with AD, he said.  Recent studies by Kraus and colleagues showed that lifelong musical experiences can slow down brain aging and memory loss, he added.  Music therapy can also increase chemicals in the brain that affect mood, behavior and sleep.  He noted that many of his patients have responded well to a new music-based Therapy for Memory: Music Activity and Educational Program on CD.

"In addition to relying on data from large clinical trials, I believe that each AD patient is an individual who will benefit from a comprehensive plan that approaches treatment and prevention like a puzzle," Dr. Isaacson said.

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