Despite wishing on a star (or a whole bunch of them) Big Pharma’s dream of a new Alzheimer’s drug didn’t come true… again.
The latest dud, called idalopirdine, was even given a “fast track approval” by the FDA last year. That, no doubt, gave high hopes to the drugmaker that it would soon be speeding on its way to pharmacies around the country.
The company that was developing the drug, Lundbeck, optimistically gave its failed trials inspiring names like STARSHINE, STARBEAM, and, for the last one, STARBRIGHT.
But although this drug joins a long list of epic Alzheimer’s fails, you don’t have to hitch your wagon to Big Pharma’s falling star where treating or preventing this mind-robbing disease is concerned.
Because there have already been some amazing findings about ways to do that.
And not one of them involves a drug.
Big Pharma’s latest attempts to find a drug treatment for Alzheimer’s have revolved around research into certain brain pathways that are associated with learning and memory called 5-HT6 receptors.
So far, though, all of their efforts to figure it out, including this last one, have bombed. Neuroscientists say that’s because these receptors are much more “complex” than originally believed.
The brain, complex? Who’da thunk?
Where Alzheimer’s disease is concerned, however, all these drug companies might try taking a leaf from one of the most prominent experts out there, Dr. Peter Whitehouse.
Dr. Whitehouse is a neuroscientist whose discoveries about the brain and the disease have led to most of Big Pharma’s current ideas on how to treat it. But he says that none of these drug interventions are going to work because Alzheimer’s isn’t a single, clear-cut disease.
Rather, he says, it’s a “cluster of symptoms” associated with the aging brain — and so the “hundreds of billions of dollars” that have already been spent on coming up with these new drugs haven’t led to much more than “exaggerated false promises.”
But, as Dr. Whitehouse pointed out, dementia rates are actually falling in places like Sweden, Norway and the UK, where programs that focus on improving diet, exercise and socializing are taking hold.
And that’s probably why UCLA researchers are finally having great success on this side of the pond with their multi-pronged approach.
Over a year ago, they decided to look at no less than three dozen different parts to the Alzheimer’s puzzle — things such as inflammation, nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. The treatments involved approaches such as ditching processed food and adding more fresh fruits and veggies to the participants’ diets, upping vitamin D levels, improving gut health and using DHA supplements.
And despite the fact it was a small study with only 10 people involved, they were able to reverse the symptoms of dementia in all but one patient in only a few months!
Along with that multi-step approach, other researchers around the world have been making breakthrough findings on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s as well as lowering the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. While a cure for the Big A is certainly something we’d all like to see, it’s possible that treatments, such as the ones below, may be helpful in preventing that as well.
- Acupuncture has been shown to help protect against memory loss and improve cognitive function,
- Medium-chain fatty acids, like those found in coconut oil, can not only “postpone the aging process,” but also help people already suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,
- Vitamins C and E, a combo that, as I told you just last month, were found in a recent study out of Canada to reduce the risk of dementia by 40 percent, and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by 42 percent.
Plus that, a brand new study published in JAMA Neurology confirmed previous findings that you can slash your risk of cognitive impairment by staying active, playing games and using the computer (as you’re doing right now!) — by as much as 30 percent.
And in Finland, researchers discovered that using a sauna several times a week appears to lower your risk of dementia by a whopping 70 percent!
So, despite Big Pharma’s expensive failures, perhaps the puzzle of Alzheimer’s is a lot closer to being “solved” by natural approaches than you could ever imagine.
“Two more phase 3 trials of Alzheimer’s drug idalopirdine fail” Deborah Brauser, February 10, 2017, Medscape, Medscape.com