As a high-powered lawyer at the top of her game, Evelyne had always been efficient, authoritative and in control.
But when she reached 60, she reluctantly began to accept that her mind wasn’t as sharp as it once had been.
She found herself increasingly confounded by a nagging sense of confusion and exhaustion — and started second-guessing some of her decisions.
But when Evelyne found herself going completely blank in the middle of an important presentation, she knew something was very wrong.
Evelyne is typical of the thousands of patients we have seen over the course of the 20 years we have spent studying Alzheimer’s disease.
As a neurologist husband-and-wife team, together we run the prestigious Memory and Ageing Centre at Loma Linda University in California — a hospital that is dedicated to cutting-edge research into the condition.
As doctors at the very peak of our profession, we have worked at some of the world’s leading hospitals and have dedicated our careers to finding a cure for this devastating disease.
While other chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes are in decline, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are rising.
It’s now the leading cause of death in the UK — overtaking heart disease in 2016. Indeed, for many of us the question is no longer if we will get the disease, but when.
Today, women over 60 in the UK are twice as likely to get dementia as breast cancer, and the risk of developing it doubles every five years after the age of 65.
By 2025, there will be more than one million people in the UK with dementia.
But now, thanks to years of exhaustive research, we firmly believe we have found a scientifically backed way to reduce your risk and keeping your brain sharper for longer.
Our method could even help to reduce some of the symptoms of dementia after it has started to develop.
The key is a personalised lifestyle plan, which we’ve called the Alzheimer’s Solution — the name of our books.
It identifies your individual risk of getting the disease and then helps you to minimise these risks through simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
Our plan focuses on five key areas that can really make a difference: diet, exercise, sleep, stress and brain training (exercises shown to help boost the brain, such as Sudoku or learning a language).
Throughout our careers we’ve treated thousands of patients and helped them to reverse some of the symptoms of dementia and added years to their lives.
Take Evelyne. Just two months after her first visit to us, tests showed that her short-term memory had improved by 30 per cent and her attention score by 50 per cent.
In a very short space of time, she was seeing a reversal of some of her symptoms.
So how does our plan actually work?
When we started on this quest for an Alzheimer’s cure, we assumed any solution would come in the form of a pill.
But after conducting one of the most comprehensive reviews ever into scientific studies that show the causes of dementia, we are convinced that many cases can be put down to a poor diet consisting of heavily processed food — with an emphasis on sugar and meat — combined with a sedentary, sleep-deprived and stressful lifestyle.
What’s more, the data we looked at (which comprised thousands of studies) convinced us that lifestyle changes that are beneficial to the heart and kidneys also appear to be beneficial to the brain.
That’s why our Alzheimer’s Solution works. It draws on 15 years’ worth of published research from around the globe.
We’ve guided thousands of people through the highly personalised process of lifestyle change throughout our careers — and the overall effects have been profound.
Jerry, for example, came to us with an early diagnosis of vascular dementia, desperate for a solution. We looked in detail at his lifestyle — and then prescribed exercise.
He started pedalling very gently on a stationary bike in front of his TV each day and saw immediate improvements in his mood and memory.
This spurred him on to make further lifestyle adjustments. He decided to take steps to improve his sleep, diet and stress levels — and within a year, a scan of his brain showed rather profound improvements.
‘I was stuck in a parallel universe,’ he told us. ‘But now I’m back with everyone else.’
He is proof that our plan works. And to say these findings changed the course of our lives as doctors would be a complete understatement.
Our discoveries have wholly altered the way that we think about dementia, cognitive health and the future of Alzheimer’s treatment.
There may still be no cure for Alzheimer’s but, with the right advice, we can be mentally active for longer, reverse the debilitating symptoms of the disease and ultimately add more happy, healthy years to our lives.
The best part is that our plan is so simple you can make immediate changes in the sure knowledge that you are launching your own personal fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
1. We found that eating meat is bad for your brain, which requires vegetables, fruit, pulses, grains and healthy fats to thrive.
We therefore recommend a plant-based diet low in sugar, salt and processed foods.
2. Physical exercise increases both the number of brain cells and the connections between them. We suggest maintaining an active lifestyle that incorporates movement every hour — not just a quick stop at the gym after an otherwise sedentary day at the office, for example.
3. Chronic stress puts the brain in a state of high inflammation, causing structural damage and impairing its ability to clear toxins. We recommend meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and time outside.
4. Restorative sleep is essential for health so it’s important to aim for seven to eight hours a night.
5. Puzzles and other complex activities protect your brain against decline.
Social support and engagement with your community can also have a clear and undeniable influence on the way in which your brain ages.
And activities such as playing music are great for challenging and engaging many of the brain’s capacities.
The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Revolutionary Guide To How You Can Prevent And Reverse Memory Loss
by Dr Dean Sherzai and Dr Ayesha Sherzai, published by Simon & Schuster