There is primary aging and there is secondary aging. The former is a side-effect of the operation of metabolism, an accumulation of damage about which little is done at present. The latter is the consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle, which at the most obvious end of the spectrum includes the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes caused by becoming sedentary and fat. Over the years numerous studies have shown that some of the declines of aging taken as inevitable are in fact self-inflicted by our own indulgences in this age of comparative leisure and low-cost calories. There is a modest difference to be made here, it is true, but you can't do much about primary aging. That requires new medical technologies capable of repairing the cellular and molecular damage that causes primary aging.
Here researchers demonstrate that the modest difference of a good lifestyle extends to the progression of early stage Alzheimer's disease, which is probably not surprising given the established risk factors for this condition include lack of exercise and being overweight. The methodology employed in this study included mild calorie restriction and exercise, which have been shown to improve pretty much anyone's general health at even advanced ages. Given the size of the effects of those two items demonstrated in past studies of health, I suspect the rest of the regimen is all window dressing. I'd like to see this run again with just the exercise and calorie restriction, and I'd wager the results would be much the same.
Overall this should be taken as a reminder that letting health maintenance slip in later years has a measurable cost, and in an era so close to the development of ways to treat primary aging, every year counts:
In the first, small study of a novel, personalized and comprehensive program to reverse memory loss, nine of 10 participants, including the ones above, displayed subjective or objective improvement in their memories beginning within 3-to-6 months after the program's start. Of the six patients who had to discontinue working or were struggling with their jobs at the time they joined the study, all were able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. Improvements have been sustained, and as of this writing the longest patient follow-up is two and one-half years from initial treatment. These first ten included patients with memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), or subjective cognitive impairment (SCI; when a patient reports cognitive problems). One patient, diagnosed with late stage Alzheimer's, did not improve.
[The] approach is personalized to the patient, based on extensive testing to determine what is affecting the plasticity signaling network of the brain. As one example, in the case of the patient with the demanding job who was forgetting her way home, her therapeutic program consisted of some, but not all of the components involved with [the] therapeutic program, and included:
(1) eliminating all simple carbohydrates, leading to a weight loss of 20 pounds; (2) eliminating gluten and processed food from her diet, with increased vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish; (3) to reduce stress, she began yoga; (4) as a second measure to reduce the stress of her job, she began to meditate for 20 minutes twice per day; (5) she took melatonin each night; (6) she increased her sleep from 4-5 hours per night to 7-8 hours per night; (7) she took methylcobalamin each day; (8) she took vitamin D3 each day; (9) fish oil each day; (10) CoQ10 each day; (11) she optimized her oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush; (12) following discussion with her primary care provider, she reinstated hormone replacement therapy that had been discontinued; (13) she fasted for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime; (14) she exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week.