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Dementia 2020 - Partner Profile - Cytoplan’s Brain Health Programme

Interview with Clare Daley at Cytoplan Ltd about Cytoplan’s Brain Health Programme

What inspired Cytoplan to create The Brain Health Programme?

In March 2015, Amanda Williams, Managing and Technical Director at Cytoplan, read Professor Bredesen’s 2014 paper “Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A novel therapeutic program” and saw him speak at a conference in London. Amanda described it as the most exciting paper she had ever read. With the assistance of our charitable foundation, The Aim Foundation, Cytoplan is working to help bring Professor Bredesen’s work to the UK – one of the ways we are doing this is through The Brain Health Programme, which we have developed based on the nutrition and lifestyle elements of Professor Bredesen’s therapeutic protocol.

What evidence is there for a nutrition and lifestyle approach to cognitive decline?

Much research on lifestyle interventions to delay and slow cognitive decline has looked at single interventions such as the effects of sleep, exercise, stress reduction or nutrition.

However, more recently there is interest in combining several different therapies – a multimodal approach.

For example, a 2018 review by Lancaster University appraised evidence for the effectiveness of multimodal non-pharmacological interventions for improving cognitive function in 21 group studies and 5 case studies. The inclusion criteria was adults with a primary diagnosis of dementia in an age range of 54-93 years old. The 26 studies used two or more different modes of intervention and measured a cognitive outcome. Modes included a range of cognitive therapies, psychological therapies, exercise and nutrition. The results have important implications for dementia treatments as 92% of included studies demonstrated statistical improvement, stability or decrease of decline. Studies that personalised the multimodal approach resulted in the greatest outcomes.

Last year, Professor of Neurology, Dale Bredesen, along with medical colleagues from 15 other clinics, published a paper describing 100 patients with cognitive decline who had well documented, sustained, quantified improvements in cognition using his targeted, multi-component programme which includes nutrition, optimising gut health and sleep, stress reduction, physical activity and brain training.

These new results expand on Professor Bredesen’s earlier published case studies of ten patients, nine of whom showed sustained subjective and objective improvement in cognition, using his approach.

Can a similar approach be used for prevention?

A personalised, multiphasic programme can also be used by healthy individuals wanting to prevent dementia. A review in 2018 by Klimova & Valis included twelve randomised controlled trials of healthy people, aged 50 plus. They concluded that multi-domain interventions that included nutrition alongside other aspects – exercise, cognitive training and vascular risk monitoring, resulted in more significant effects in preventing cognitive decline.

Furthermore, two US Alzheimer Prevention Clinics are using a comprehensive approach for people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical management decisions are based on clinical history and on what they refer to as the “ABCs” of Alzheimer’s prevention.

A – anthropometrics – % body fat, lean muscle mass, waist to hip ratio

B – blood biomarkers – genetic analysis, lipid profile, inflammatory, metabolic and nutritional biomarkers

C – cognition – neuropsychological testing

Interventions are then personalised and may include targeted cardiovascular risk factor management, physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, cognitive engagement, social interaction, sense of purpose, stress management and oral hygiene. Preliminary results have demonstrated improvements in cognition and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s risk.

What is The Brain Health Programme and who is it for?

Cytoplan has developed The Brain Health Programme to provide individuals with the knowledge and practical tools required to optimise wellbeing, memory and mood, and prevent cognitive decline. The Programme comprises six interactive workshops, led by qualified Nutritional Therapists, which include talks, activities and discussion to show individuals how to make, and sustain, lifelong food and lifestyle choices to protect and promote the health of the brain. The workshops cover topics which have been shown in research to support mental and cognitive health, such as nutrition, optimising gut health, stress management, improving sleep, physical activity and brain training.

Nutrition for the Brain: Just like any other organ, the brain requires certain nutrients to function properly. On the other hand, some foodstuffs can actually jeopardise brain function. The programme explores the very best foods to eat, as well as ways of eating, to optimise the brain and help prevent cognitive decline.

Optimising Gut Health: Science has revealed that what goes on in our digestive tract can have a profound influence on mood and mental functioning. The Programme explores this ‘gut-brain axis’ and provides practical advice on how to ensure a healthy gut.

Stress Management: Persistently elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can kill brain cells and negatively affect brain function. The Programme examines this association and offers practical advice for reducing stress naturally.

Improving Sleep: Sleep is vital for optimal brain health. Statistics show we are sleeping less and problems such as getting to sleep or staying asleep are common. The Programme provides strategies for optimising sleep and maintaining mental functioning.

Physical Activity: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps produce new cells within the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotions. The Programme reveals how exercise can lift mood and help with stress management.

Brain Training: There’s an old adage – ‘use it or lose it’. The adult brain continuously adapts to relevant sensory stimulation and The Brain Health Programme explores how exercising the brain allows new connections to be created and maintained.

The Brain Health Programme is suitable for anyone wishing to learn how to support their mental health and wellbeing and reduce their risk of cognitive decline.

Who is Cytoplan looking to work with?

We are looking for GPs or Clinical Commissioning Groups who would be interested in piloting this programme in their areas. To discuss, please contact Clare Daley, Clinical Education Manager and Nutritional Therapist at Cytoplan – clare@cytoplan.co.uk.

If you would like to learn more about Cytoplan’s Brain Health Programme please visit www.thebrainhealthprogramme.co.uk

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