A 67 year old woman presented with two years of progressive memory loss. She held a demanding job that involved preparing analytical reports and traveling widely, but found herself no longer able to analyse data or prepare the reports, and was forced to consider quitting her job. She noted that when she would read, by the time she reached the bottom of a page, she would have to star tat the top once again, since she was unable to remember the material she had just read. She was no longer able to remember numbers, and had to write down even 4-digit numbers to remember them. She also began to have trouble navigating on the road: even on familiar roads, she would become lost trying to figure out where to enter or exit the road. She also noticed that she would mix up the names of her pets, and forget where the light switches where in her home of years.
Her mother had developed similar progressive cognitive decline beginning in her early 60's, had become severely demented, entered a nursing home and died at approximately 80yo. When the patient consulted her physician about her problems, she was told that she had the same problem that her mother had had, and that there was nothing he could do about it. He wrote "memory problems" in her chart, and therefore the patient was turned down in her application for long term care.
After being informed that she had the same problem as her mother had had, she recalled the many years of her mother's decline in a nursing home. Knowing that there was still no effective treatment and subsequently losing the ability to purchase long-term care, she decided to commit suicide. She called a friend to commiserate, who referred her to Dr Dale Bredesen of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing.
Dr Bredesen advised a protocol, which she commenced. After three months, she noted that all of her symptoms had abated: she was able to navigate without problems, remember telephone numbers without difficulty, prepare reports and do all of her work without difficulty, read and retain information, and, overall she became asymptomatic. She noted that her memory was now better than it had been in years. On one occasion, she developed an acute viral illness, discontinued the program, and noticed a decline, which reversed when she reinstated the program. Two and a half years later, at age 70, she remains asymptomatic and continues to work full-time.
Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A novel therapeutic program. Dale E. Bredesen. Aging, September 2014, Vol 6 N 9.