The days are not only getting harder for Joyce and Geneva, but for the people who love them the most.
Like five and a half million other people, Joyce and Geneva are losing their memories.
Losing their minds to Alzheimer's -a disease that can strike in the prime of life, without discrimination.
Neurologist Richard Isaacson watched family members fall victim to it.
Now he's using an all-encompassing approach to try and stop it.
In addition to medications, therapy and exercise, Doctor Isaacson is turning to medical foods to help delay memory loss in his patients.
Axona is a medical shake - an energy drink for the brain.
It basically gives the brain an alternative food source.
Research shows after an Alzheimer's patient drinks it, ketone bodies circulate in the brain.
Teresa Alfonzo's family started seeing the signs of Alzheimer's in their mother ten years ago.
In a double blind study, axona was given to 75 Alzheimer's patients. Another 75 took a placebo.
After 90 days, all the people taking axona remained stable or got better. The people on the placebo did not.
Experts say axona works for 45 percent of Alzheimer's patients.
Although some patients see results immediately, the Alzheimer's Association does not endorse any medical food.
It released a statement calling all medical foods, "a subject of concern."
Some doctors are reluctant to use them due to lack of scientific research.
For Teresa's family, they feel it's working.
More information on next page.
BACKGROUND: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and become progressively worse, eventually interfering with daily tasks. Some warning signs of Alzheimer’s include memory loss affecting daily life, problems planning or problem solving, confusion with time or place, trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationship and misplacing things. Most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 years or older, but it is not a normal part of aging. Currently, there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s but there are drugs to decrease the symptoms and increase the quality of life. (SOURCE: Alzheimer’s Association)
AXONA: Axona provides the brain with an energy source it doesn’t normally get form a regular diet. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain, and Alzheimer’s patients show a decline in the ability to metabolize glucose in the brain. Without sufficient glucose the brain will be damaged causing impaired memory and cognition and even brain shrinkage. Axona is a powder that is usually mixed with a high protein drink, and is turned into ketone bodies by the liver. Ketone bodies provide a great alternative energy source for brain cells. Ketone bodies are naturally occurring in foods, coming from fatty acids. Clinical trials have shown that Axona improves cognitive function in some Alzheimer’s patients. Axona is mixed in a drink once a day and should be drank after a meal. It can be taken with Alzheimer’s medicine. Axona is prescribed by a doctor. (SOURCE: Accera)
ABOUT MEDICAL FOODS: A medical food is intended for the clinical dietary management of a disease or condition that requires special nutritional needs. Medical foods are to be used under supervision of a physician. Medical foods must have GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) ingredients. They must comply with FDA regulations regarding labeling, product claims and manufacturing. (SOURCE: Axona)
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Madeleine Desmond/ Media Relations
(Information provided by Ivanhoe)
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