Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 | Author:

The evening before the first screening, Dr. Newport stayed up late researching both drugs. During that research she discovered a third that had shown unbelievable results — actual memory improvement.

“Most drugs talk about slowing the progression of the disease … but you never hear the word ‘improvement.’ Right then I knew I had to find out more,” she said.

She began vigorously researching online and uncovered the new medication’s patent application. She found an in-depth discussion of its primary ingredient, an oil composed of medium chain triglycerides known as MCT oil.

In Alzheimer’s disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty metabolizing glucose, the brain’s principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious neurons may begin to die. But researchers have identified an alternative energy source for brain cells — fats known as ketone bodies, explained Dr. Theodore VanItallie, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City. He has been researching ketones for more than 35 years.

“Ketones are a high-energy fuel that nourish the brain,” VanItallie said, explaining that when you are starving, the body produces ketones naturally. When digested, the liver converts MCT oil into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.

As Dr. Newport continued to read about MCT oil and the new medication, she discovered something surprising: Non-hydrogenated coconut oil is more than 60 percent MCT oil, and this medication derived its MCT oil from this readily available tropical tree.

Newport was not accepted for the first clinical trial. He was unable to remember the season, month or day of the week, and he scored a 14 out of 30 on the mini-mental state examination, a test used to screen for dementia and assess the level of impairment. He tested too low and, according to the results, had “severe” Alzheimer’s.

One important test for Alzheimer’s progression is to draw the face of a clock from memory. That afternoon, Newport could barely remember how the clock looked, said Dr. Newport.

“We were devastated,” she said.

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Category: Health Benefits
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