Updated: Aug 5
I hate to use the word cure, but what else would you call it? Reversal, I guess. This is like the third or fourth (frankly, I've lost count) study of its type (not including the FINGER studies of Finland) to experience more or less the same pattern of outcomes: 75% of people stabilizing or improving.
(50% if you do intent-to-treat, but still: people are getting their lives back!)
Up until now this dementia reversal protocol was only for folks with early-ish cognitive decline, what they call in the field MCI and SCI, that is, subjective or mild cognitive impairment. But as this breath taking and super inspirational SoCal naturopath, Heather Sandison, has quietly discovered, it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to predict who will rock this program (and who might not be able to do it).
So she pretty much accepted all comers-- all the way down to Moca scores of 12 and 13!!
And many of them got better: median Moca score rose from 20 to 24 (p=0.013) and CBS memory, verbal ability, and reasoning improved in 82%, 68% and 64%, respectively.
And the study is just getting going.
Grab a hanky and watch (segment begins @ about 34:00) Heather relate how a woman everyone had pretty much written off as a "lost cause" completely blew them away. (Turns out she was full of Candida-- and 2 full-on parasites.)
Dr. Sandison and co-researchers/authors Nini Callan & John Phipps (National University of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR), Ryan Bradley (Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, UCSD) and Apollo Health's own Ram Rao published the 6-month results in the June 2023 edition of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Experience has consistently shown that stabilization & improvement don't typically begin until the 3- to 6-month mark-- with continued improvement beyond that (so long as they stick with the program), out to 1, 2 even 3 years and beyond. So measuring things so soon is both exciting and understates the power of this approach.
And here's the thing. This "ReCode" approach is not only proving to be mind blowingly effective in neurocognitive decline. Many study participants are able, over time, to ditch their blood pressure meds, their cholesterol meds, their acid blockers and others. One could even make a solid argument that this kind of program packs a powerful cancer prevention punch as well.
Because you are giving the body what it needs-- and removing what is creating havoc. All hail, the 5R's. (The first of which, of course, is REMOVE.)
And you are eating and moving and sleeping the way humans were meant to eat, sleep & move. Think 1920.
I always get this image of Glinda the Good Witch with Dorothy Gale of Kansas at this point. Sorry, I am of that age and ilk. "YOU'VE ALWAYS HAD THE POWER, MY DEAR."
Here's how to do it:
1. Clinical visit times (60-90 minutes) that allow the provider to get to know and understand the person and his or her life
A 90-minute clinical initial intake visit was conducted for each participant, with subsequent visits (@ 30 days, month 3 and month 6) lasting from 45–75 minutes.
2. A thorough (and we mean THOROUGH) laboratory evaluation
Analysis of blood, urine, hair, and stool samples to look at biomarkers of environmental toxicant exposure, blood sugar dysregulation, gastrointestinal health, nutrient status, cardiovascular disease, systemic inflammation, chronic infection, and hormone dysregulation.
Environmental exposures assessed included metals (e.g., mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium), chemical pollutants (e.g., petrol chemicals, phthalates, herbicides, pesticides, and glyphosate), and biotoxins (ochratoxin, gliotoxin, trichothecenes, zearalenone, and aflatoxin).
Stool analysis included markers for impaired digestion and absorption, dysbiotic flora, gut specific inflammation, impaired gut immune function, and infection (e.g bacteria, fungi, parasites).
Systemic inflammation was evaluated by hs-CRP, ferritin, and LpPla2.
Chronic infections associated with cognitive decline screened for included Herpes simplex, P. gingivalis, Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella and chronic sinusitis.
Hormones tested included sex hormones, adrenal hormones, complete thyroid hormone panel and pregnenolone
3. Followed up by appropriate personalized intervention
Any of the above found to be in need of treatment were treated (link to Table 4 of paper, that summarizes the different interventions and totals).
4. For neurocognitive decline, also an admittedly boilerplate (at least initially) intervention
All participants were provided nutritional support including a nootropic blend (link to Table 2 of paper), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, probiotic, support switching to a ketogenic diet and suggested to aim for half the number of pounds of body weight in ounces for hydration.
5. Movement mixed with intentional mental down time
Participants were encouraged to increase exercise and adopt novel exercise routines with the goal of getting regular aerobic and strength training exercise. Depending on participant activity level at baseline, these recommendations varied (e.g., if a participant was already doing strength training, aerobic exercise was added, etc.). If participants were doing no exercise at the time of study enrollment, then a recommendation to walk each day was recommended as a starting point. All participants were also encouraged to engage in mindfulness practices, including daily meditation or prayer depending on participant preference.
6. Preferentially burning fats (not carbs/glucose) for fuel (i.e., intermittent fasting + mild ketosis)
To optimize metabolism, a ketogenic diet was encouraged for all participants: high in non-starchy vegetables, high in fats, with carbohydrates limited in order to achieve blood ketone levels > 1.0 mmol/L (other teams measure breath ketones with Biosense or similar device), and a fasting period of a minimum of 12 h each night. Organic produce, wild-caught low mercury fish, and consumption of organic, pastured eggs and poultry, organic dairy, and 100% grass fed meats were encouraged. Participants were asked to eliminate alcohol, processed foods, and grains.
(Interestingly, Heather et cie don't appear to have enforced the really, really restrictive food rules of the official Recode/PreCode food plan: no wheat, no sugar, no grains, no dairy. This requires investigative follow-up.)
7. Sleep (7+ hours, uninterrupted, with no apneic events) underpins absolutely EVERYTHING else
Sleep hygiene was supported and tracked using a Garmin VivoSmart 4 to measure hours and quality of sleep per night, plus oxygen saturation. All participants with O2 saturation levels falling below 85% during sleep were referred to sleep medicine for further evaluation and treatment of potential sleep apnea.
8. Everyone needs hormones in balance
Bio-identical hormone replacement and/or herbal hormonal support was initiated for participants with laboratory confirmed reduction in hormone levels. (N.B. There are also cases, often in men, of hormone EXCESS; namely estrogen (E2) and estrone (E1). This often requires liver/gallbladder and gut support. And also, of course, cortisol excess or dysregulated diurnal patterns, are common in our modern world.) Thyroid hormone replacement was prescribed as clinically appropriate.
There's a treasure trove of details I've yet to fully explore within the four supplemental tables published alongside the main paper. (Why can't they include these super important specifics in the body of the paper itself?) Spoiler alert: almost ALL of them got varying permutations of detox support and BHRT. Anyway, I am in the process of figuring out the best way to present this and will try to find a way to succinctly summarize or display it here or in a future post, coming soon...