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Non-Conventional Approaches

 Non-Conventional Approaches 

 Non-Conventional Drugs under Development


Non-Conventional Approaches

Non-Conventional Approaches

The drug therapies available for management of AD usually focus on either improving memory or the behavioral symptoms. It is clearly known that there is no definitive treatment that can cure or prevent the progression of disease. Recently there is an increased interest in the Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) in the treatment of various chronic illnesses. These non-conventional interventions are an important addition especially for behavior management and memory loss in AD. Many people with dementia, and those who care for them, are interested in using CAM therapies as these are believed to be associated with minimum risks and complications. Since age, genetic makeup and familial risks factors cannot be altered, healthy lifestyle and stress reduction strategies, such as diet, exercise, and meditation may be used to prevent or delay disease and maintain health.

The non-conventional approaches described below aim to provide social stimulation and improve the cognitive skills, thus increasing the person’s sense of self-control.

AD has no cure; however, management strategies do exist that that can help you cope up with the symptoms

 

CAM Scoring for AD: Your guide for choosing the best CAM treatment option

On the basis of available evidence of efficacy, safety, comparison to the conventional therapies and convenience or availability, ICMH has developed a proprietary rating system. This rating system may be used as a guide for choosing the appropriate CAM therapy after consultation with your health care provider (HCP).

Dietary Supplements

Research suggests that high consumption of diet rich in trans-unsaturated (hydrogenated) fats increases the risk of AD. Instead, consumption of vitamin-rich vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, and food items that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. fish) may reduce your risk of suffering from dementia and eventually AD.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC,★★★)

ALC plays a role in energy and lipid metabolism, and may modify enzyme and hormone activity in the body. After consumption, ALC gets converted to acetylcholine. On the basis of this, it has been investigated in AD.

One study published in Neurology reported that one-year treatment with oral ALC in AD patients showed improvement in long-term verbal memory and selective attention. In another study it was found that treatment with ALC (2 g/day orally for 3 months) along with donepezil or rivastigmine showed improvement in response rate. ALC use was associated with improvement in cognitive functions, functional status, and behavioral symptoms.

Effect on cognitive/behavioral function: 

Improvement of cognitive functions, functional status, and behavioral symptoms

How it works?:

ALC gets converted to a neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is responsible for maintaining cognitive function

Side effects and drug interactions:

 No severe side effects have been reported in clinical studies

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (★★★)

Omega-3 fatty acids provide docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are important for growth and function of nerve cells in the brain. Decrease in DHA is associated with impairments in cognitive and behavioral performance. Therefore, consumption of fish or supplements containing omega-3 fatty acid may prove beneficial for delaying the cognitive impairment in people suffering from dementia who are at high risk of AD.

One clinical study reported that daily intake of 1.7 g of DHA and 0.6 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (omega-3 fatty acids) for six months showed improvement of cognitive behavior in people diagnosed with very mild cognitive dysfunction. Unfortunately, the study did not document any effect in patients with mild to moderate AD.

Another study reported that people who consumed fish once in a week or more had 60 percent less risk of developing AD than people who rarely or never ate fish.

Effect on cognitive/behavioral function: 

Improvement of cognitive behavior

How it works?: 

Omega-3 fatty acids facilitate growth and function of nerve cells in the brain. A 2012 study in Neurology showed that patients who consume omega3s have less beta-amyloid levels (a protein associated with AD) in their blood

Side effects and drug interactions: 

No severe side effects have been reported in clinical studies

Vitamins(★★)

Data from some clinical studies demonstrate that fruit and vegetable consumption may have a role against cognitive decline, dementia, and AD. One recent clinical study reports that vitamin B supplementation can slow the shrinkage of cells in brain regions that are a key component of the AD process and that are associated with cognitive decline. Some studies also suggest a link between reduced levels of Vitamin D and risk for dementia. A recent study reported that reduced plasma25-hydroxyvitamin D showed increased risk of AD.

The observational studies suggests that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, depression, dental caries, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease, all of which are considered risk factors for dementia. Animal studies reveal that vitamin D has a role in neuroprotection and reducing inflammation.

Vitamin B Effect on cognitive/behavioral function: 

Improvement of cognitive behavior

How it works?: 

Vitamin B supplementation slows the shrinkage of cells in brain regions. In 2011 a study in Neurology demonstrated that higher levels of B12 in the blood was associated with a lower risk of AD

Side effects and drug interactions: 

No severe side effects have been reported in clinical studies

Vitamin D Effect on cognitive/behavioral function: 

Since lower vitamin D concentrations are associated with poorer cognitive function, vitamin D supplementation may improve cognitive behavior in people with AD

How it works?: 

Vitamin D may prove neuroprotective due to its antioxidative action, enhanced nerve conduction and detoxification mechanisms. A 2012 study published in Current Alzheimer Research demonstrated that lower vitamin D levels are associated with AD

Side effects and drug interactions: 

No major side effects have been reported

 

Dietary Guidelines for AD

The seven dietary guidelines prepared by physicians committee for Responsible Medicine (PCMR) are listed below. These guidelines were presented recently at the International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain in Washington on July 19 and 20, 2013.

Seven Dietary Guidelines For Reducing The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

1. Reduce Intake of Saturated and Trans Fat

  • Saturated Fats: Found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils)
  • Trans Fat: Found in pastries and fried foods

2. Increase consumption of Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains

3. Consume one ounce (handful) of nuts or seeds daily as they are a rich source of vitamin E. Other healthy sources of omega 3s include salmon and other cold water fish.

4. Take supplements of vitamin B12 or consume fortified foods that have added vitamins and minerals

5. When selecting multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper. Ask your physician before taking iron supplements

6. Avoid using cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contribute dietary aluminum

7. In addition to healthy diet, indulge in aerobic exercise – such as running, brisk walking, or step-aerobics for at least 120 minutes in a week

 

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