The Older Brother Looks Forward to The End of Alzheimer’s

Hey, Fat Heads!

Long time. My bad for not getting this out there last week while Tom was on the Low Carb Cruise. I had kind of a week.

My annual Abe’s Army started up again last week, so I spent that Monday night running and trying to remember why I thought that’s a good idea.  It’ll come to me.

Then I had to make a 50 mile trip north for non-GMO chicken feed Tuesday (we’ve got a new batch of meat birds on the farm), which turned into two days because I had to beat it back to town to head out of town 50 miles west for an unexpected visitation (childhood friend of The Wife’s), dropped the chick feed the next day (15 miles east), and spent a couple of days making trips to move stuff from The Younger Sister’s house that just sold to her new place, which is, oddly enough, about 50 miles south. The closing on her house went a month ahead of schedule, which was good. Unless you had a few other things you’d planned on.

Guesting in The Big Chair, for example.

Speaking of which, someone (ahem) moved all of the knobs around on The Big Chair during the whole Nautilus website remodel adventure, so I was a little disoriented. I couldn’t ftp to save my life. Not that I’m complaining.

This post is something of a callback. Tom had a post (here) about two years ago about a treatment protocol developed for Alzheimer’s patients that incorporated several lifestyle modifications without involving some new $5,000 a month pharmaceutical miracle pill. Nine out of the ten patients participating in the study improved, and six who’d stopped working returned to their vocations. I don’t know if I pointed it out to him, or if we both heard about it at the same time, but we were both naturally intrigued after Dad spent the last few years of his life as an Alzheimer’s zombie.

The protocol, developed by Dr. Dale Bredesen, focused on what is essentially a keto-centric diet, regular physical activity including weight-bearing lifting, stress and sleep management, hormone and nutrient balance, and genetic testing.

I kept kind of following up occasionally, and Dr. Bredesen has a book now laying out the whole protocol. For something as relentlessly hope-shattering as Alzheimer’s has been, Dr. Bredesen makes some bold statements.

Consider that over the last few decades tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars have been spent, nearly 250 drugs have been tested (fail), hundreds (thousands?) of research organizations, universities, and pharmaceutical companies have focused on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Where are we?


Patients : 0, Alzheimer’s : WINNING!

[Aricept, the one you’re going to be given if diagnosed, supposedly moderates onset for up to two years, at which point you’ll be in the same place cognitively as if you’d never taken it. I suspect kind of like statins supposedly prevent heart attacks.]

If you’re in a treatment program, you’ll be given Aricept, maybe one or two others that have been proven not to kill anyone too quickly yet, and encouraged to participate in more trials as a guinea pig for whatever new molecule has been cooked up to eliminate the dreaded amyloid plaques.

I’m pretty sure that at some point, “amyloid plaques” will be in the same wing with “arterycloggingsaturatedfats” in The Museum of Things We Got Conned Into Thinking Were Trying to Kill Us (The MOTWGCITWTTKU, for short).

But here is Dr. Bredesen:

“Let me say this as clearly as I can: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and in many cases its associated cognitive decline can be reversed.”

“What the research from my laboratory colleagues and me adds up to is this: No one should die from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Whoa. What did he say?!?

“Let me say that again: No one should die from Alzheimer’s disease.”

So, what’s Dr. Bredesen know that everyone else is missing?

There’s several points he brings out (some of these are already out there in the wild, but of course diligently ignored by the pharmaceutical-driven research establishment):

  • Alzheimer’s is not a result of the brain doing something it’s not supposed to — it’s an effort by the body to mitigate damage.
  • Ditto for the dread amyloid plaques.
  • There are three different types of Alzheimer’s, and it’s important to identify the type involved to effectively address it.
  • There are over thirty molecular mechanisms that contribute to Alzheimer’s.
  • Most of those mechanisms have to be addressed to reverse Alzheimer’s — fixing one or two won’t get results if several others are out of range.
  • Treatment — whether hormone supplements, vitamin levels, physical activity, sleep management — must be to optimal levels, not minimum or “recommended” levels.

As Fat Heads, I’m pretty sure none of those thirty-plus factors will come as a shock to you. In chapter 4, facetiously titled “How to Give Yourself Alzheimer’s: A Primer,” Bredesen goes over everything you can do in modern life to pull the trigger on whatever cognitive gun your genes have loaded — high carb/gluten-laden diet, continuous stress, statins, proton-inhibitors, terrible sleep habits, environmental factors, etc., etc.

His protocol, formerly called MEND and now re-branded to ReCODE (Reverse Cognitive Decline), consists of a battery of tests to determine levels for all of those (currently 36) markers, and then designing an individualized program to move everything into the optimal range, accompanied by regular evaluations and feedback.

Of course, once they had completed the initial study, fine-tuned the protocol, and worked with several dozens more patients with similar levels of unheard-of success, they got a backer and applied for a clinical study. They proposed a “four arm” test of a new drug (already in use in 48 other countries, but not the US) both alone and in combination with the ReCODE protocol, and a placebo with and without ReCODE.

Of course, they were granted “a perfect storm of rejection.”




Bit of quick math. Let’s assume Dr. Bredesen is on to something and there are (as currently defined) thirty-six different variables that have to be in balance to reverse cognitive decline. To test each of the possible combinations using the “scientific” approach that the single-bullet research industry insists on, that would be 2 (true or false) to the 36th (number of variables) power. So you’d only have to run between 68 and 69 billion separate studies.

I’m thinking it would be worth a shot to allocate a few million of the billions of dollars the Anointed of the Alzheimer’s industry have been pounding down the amyloid plaque rat hole for the last couple of decades. You know, just to see what happens.

Or how about we have a vote? We can have a vote between all of the people who have demonstrated long-term clinically measured improvements in cognition from the several hundred that Bredesen has treated vs. all of the people who have demonstrated long-term clinically measured improvements in cognition from the several million that the existing Alzheimer’s industry has treated. Pretty sure the Bredesen group would win by a landslide.

The book lays out all of the tests in the protocol, along with how to assemble an action plan based on the results. The easiest way to implement the protocol is to go to Bredesen’s website and send an email via the “participant” tab. It’ll cost you $75 a month (one year minimum), plus probably several hundred to a thousand dollars for a local practitioner (they have a list) over the year, and whatever supplements or additional tests you need. All in, probably about what most people spend on their cable and cell phone plans for a year.

Besides being an interesting, well-written read on a topic that’s going to affect many of us personally and certainly all of us as a society, I also got a new favorite term out of the book — “hanging crepe.” The origin is in the old practice of hanging black crepe in the doorway and windows of a home where someone has died to notify everyone of the bad news. It’s evolved to mean being incredibly pessimistic generally, and in medicine it means painting the bleakest possible picture to prepare concerned parties for the worst possible (inevitable) outcome. So now when I hear “Alzheimer’s specialist,” I think “million dollar crepe hanger.” It works.

So, we’ve kind of got primers for each stage of the HFLC/Paleo/Primal/Fat Head life. Of course, “Fat Head Kids” for the younger crowd. If you’re under 35 or 40, read (and live) “Primal Blueprint.” Up to 60 or so, if you’re a little late to the party, you should probably check out “Undoctored.” Sixty-plus or have someone you care about who’s getting a bit (or very) fuzzy, buy “The End of Alzheimers.”

Today would be good. Have a great weekend!


The Older Brother


17 thoughts on “The Older Brother Looks Forward to The End of Alzheimer’s

  1. Barbara

    Hol y Cow. This will take a bit to digest. I think this is a progressive way to think about alzhimers. Anything progressive is a step forward.

    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Anything besides the amyloid plaque party line is a step forward. I see a strong parallel between how the entrenched research establishment looks at this and the decades of holding to the “Fat Baaaad/Carbs Gooood” mantra. No surprise, they’re all on the same team.

      1. chris c

        Probably for the same rea$on$. Alzheimers is not only devastating for the patient but for the family. A neighbour’s husband developed it and when she could no longer look after him at home he was institutionalised. They heroically dragged him back to life after a stroke, and pneumonia, but eventually another stroke carried him off. By then he was completely unaware of his wife’s daily visits and she was devastated by the stress, and of course they bled her dry financially. Coming shortly to an old folks home near you. Hell it’s probably already happening.

        Anything which successfully treats the disease would interfere with the profits all down the line. Anything which prevents the disease occurring in the first place, even worse.

        Amy Berger has some great information, including a book

        My mother remained sharp as a tack right up until she died at 95. No-one else in either side of the family developed it either despite living into their eighties or nineties (she was the record holder). Perhaps I should dig some of them up and ask how they achieved this. I suspect “not eating crap” would be high on the list. Just a guess . . .

        1. Walter

          Bunch of beagles, one gets what it thinks as scent and the whole pack is off.

          IIRC it was Bones who said “We can’t leave him” (Pavel Andreievich Chekov) “to 20 century medicine.”

    1. The Older Brother

      Hi Bob,

      Nice write-up. I noticed a large overlap with Undoctored also. No coincidence that all roads to lasting health improvements seem to head the same direction.

      My personal physician is focusing his practice on heart health/stroke prevention largely as outlined in Bale & Doneen’s “Beat the Heart Attack Gene.” Other then having a benevolent view of moderate statin use, it’s most of the same components also, most of which seems at bottom to be about inflammation.

      (BTW, after two total fails, it looks like my third batch of Dr. Davis’ yogurt recipe is going to be a keeper!)


      1. Stuart

        Hi TOB, your doc wouldn’t be Ford Brewer by any chance? Although I have a different view on statins Dr Brewer seems a thoughtful professional who keeps up to date with the scientific literature, unlike so many of his peers. I see he’s since trained on Bredesen’s protocol and is including Alzheimer’s treatment in his practice. Fits well with his emphasis on prevention of diabetes and heart disease since they share a lot of the same causes and you wouldn’t want to prevent Alzheimer’s just to succumb to vascular dementia. Dr Brewer also mentioned that in conversation with Dale he asked him in what percentage of Alzheimer’s patients was insulin resistance a factor and he replied “all of them”. So addressing IR is the biggest thing you can do to prevent AD as well as heart disease.

        The problem I have with RECODE is the insistence on vast numbers of tests and “only do this under a doctor’s supervision”. Leaving aside whether I can actually find in my country a doc familiar with the protocol and a lab that does the tests (eg Cyrex Array) the cost of all these tests is significant. In a comment to one of his YouTube videos Dr Brewer mentioned that the full battery of tests can exceed $US10,000. The vast majority of the protocol – reduce insulin resistance through ketogenic diet, gluten-free, address homocysteine, mould etc – can be implemented by yourself with minimal input from a doctor. The only caveat I have re Dale’s advice is the bit about limiting saturated fats, he still seems stuck on the “saturated fats cause heart disease” track, but hey he’s a neuroscientist he obviously hasn’t got the message yet.

  2. Walter

    I should be outraged, but this is just normal behavior.

    Any cure for Alzheimer’s would disrupt several major industries, satins, proton pump inhibitors and antacids in general, grains (grains other than wheat contain gluten like proteins), industrial seed oils, fear of saturated fats, veganism and the medical industry in general is making a killing on Alzheimers.

    ( Yes Veganism may appear to work for some people, but there are thousands of genes that if defective will render veganism inadequate and as we age the process are likely to falter or fail.)

  3. Walter

    RE: Abe’s army

    Exercise is one of the ways to defeat Alzheimers’ and you need it, if you didn’t think of that whilst composing this post. >;)(

    emoji — sender is diabolical, winking and in theater mode.

    I don’t see a way to moderate the previous post without destroying the meaning. 😉

  4. Dianne

    Mercy, I wish this knowledge had been available decades ago, when it might have prevented or delayed my husband’s dementia. I still want to read this book, though — maybe it will help me understand why my aunt is still sharp at 101 while my husband was obviously sliding into dementia in his early seventies, about the same time he developed type 2 diabetes. Of course, the causes of both were in operation a long time before the symptoms appeared, but I’d still just like to understand this all a lot better — and do whatever I can to help myself and others.

    1. The Older Brother Post author

      I felt the same way thinking about Dad when I read it. The more people read it and spread the word, the faster I think the paradigm shift can occur much like it is now with HFLC, etc.


      1. Dianne

        I’m afraid “faster” is going to be pretty relative for this paradigm shift as it is for every other, including HFLC. Changes don’t happen fast in the medical world unless somebody stands to make a bunch of money. Both my PCP and my cardiologist are still pushing statins and a low-fat, high carb diet at me despite the many years contrary information has been available with the underlying science well-explained. Goodness, “Protein Power” by Mike and Mary Dan Eades came out around 1997, and there have been a zillion well-written books since then, including Malcolm Kendrick’s “Great Cholesterol Con.” Nobody has to be ignorant of sound dietary science unless they just want to be. But as Chris C and Walter pointed out, Alzheimer’s is a major industry, as are some of its causes, and a lot of people stand to lose if even a hefty percentage of cases can be prevented or helped by mere lifestyle changes.

        1. The Older Brother Post author

          The thing going for a faster shift is that it’s really all the same players as the HFLC debate. Both sides — the Big Pharma/Big Food/”I’m the expert” team vs. the HFLC/Wisdom of Crowds/N=1 team.

          This isn’t really a new debate; it’s a matter of getting people to understand that Alzheimer’s is simply another manifestation of the inflammation story. The Bigs (and their paid off ground troops) are still around, but they’re fighting a rear guard action, and I believe the Alzheimer’s portion of the story is already in motion, as people who haven’t been following closely become aware that it’s the same lying S.O.B.’s that sold us the low fat fraud.


  5. Michele

    Thanks for posting this. I have signed up for the program. I just spent a week with my parents. My mother has been in a nursing home for 4 years with Alzheimer’s. My dad has early stages. I am NOT going to go through that. I am willing to do whatever it takes – so hopefully this is the answer!

  6. The Older Brother Post author

    Keep us posted. I signed Mom up for it. She’s been having some cognitive issues for the last couple of years. She’s not testing in the “impaired” range, but we’ve watched the crepe hangers for two years and are unimpressed. She’s especially motivated after how it took Dad from us all.

    I’d think anything you learn could be helpful for your folks. The real problem with nursing home care is they seem almost designed to exacerbate Alzheimer’s; starting with the menus, then the sedentary nature of the care, etc.

    Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly/ Undoctored) is involved in a new retirement community that emphasizes reduction/protection against cognitive decline, which could prove an interesting model. On the down side, it’s in New Jersey! 🙂

    I wish you and your folks the best.

    The Older Brother

    1. Stuart

      Yep, if you didn’t already have AD when you went into the nursing home you soon will after enough time on their HCLF menu with lots of “healthy” grains and seed oils. Not to mention that the food’s often so unappetizing that the residents lose interest in eating. Is it any wonder that so many people go downhill rapidly after they go in? And the doctors say “it’s just old age” and complacently watch them deteriorate while ignoring issues like B12 deficiency and high homocysteine. See also this research on how B Vitamins to treat homocysteine can halt brain shrinkage
      A follow-up story describes how re-analysis of the data showed that response to the vitamin supplementation was dependent on Omega-3 status (and presumably the O3:O6 ratio). Both articles contain links to the published papers. The response of the medical profession – total disinterest.


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