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Interventions That May Slow Memory Loss in Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Written by Sherry Christiansen
 about the author
3 minute readLast updated April 20, 2023

There are many interventions that have been recently targeted in clinical research studies, aimed at preventing the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease. While some of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s, such as age, can’t be changed, others can. Engaging in cognitive activities, a healthier diet, and more can help your loved one stay healthier, longer. Read more about the primary interventions for early Alzheimer’s and how you can implement them to prevent memory loss in your life.

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Interventions that may slow early Alzheimer’s

There are several stages of Alzheimer’s disease, (including stage 1, 2, and 3), as defined by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging:
  1. Stage 1 means that Alzheimer’s has started in the brain, but there are no symptoms of memory loss yet — this stage can last up to 20 years.
  2. Stage 2 involves mild changes in memory and perhaps in thinking skills as well (this stage is also called mild cognitive impairment or MCI for short).
  3. Stage 3 indicates that memory and thinking skills are so impaired that a person needs help to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing and eating. Stage 3 is also referred to as late-stage or Alzheimer’s dementia.
The primary areas of prevention that may slow memory loss in early stages of Alzheimer’s include:
  • Changing modifiable risk factors such as losing weight and quitting smoking
  • Cognitive activities (such as playing music and reading)
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Other lifestyle changes (such as getting enough sleep each day)
  • Physical exercise
  • Prevention of other high-risk factors (such as diabetes and high blood pressure)

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One popular, relatively new approach to Alzheimer’s prevention that is backed up by scientific research is a customized protocol. This is called a “multimodal intervention.” This means that based on each individual person, the Alzheimer’s prevention, care plan is different — considering many factors including biomarkers (a measurable substance whose presence is indicative a disease), genetics and risk factors.
Alzheimer’s risk factors that can be changed (modifiable risk factors) are things like:
  • Blood pressure control
  • Obesity (weight loss)
  • Smoking
Those that cannot be controlled (non-modifiable risk factors) include:
  • Age (the most influential of all the risk factors)
  • Gender (women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s than men)
  • Genetics
Multimodal interventions thought to slow memory loss include:
  • Engaging in cognitive activities (such as music, reading or writing)
  • Engaging in regular physical exercise
  • Implementing the Alzheimer’s diet (Mediterranean diet, MIND diet or the FINGER diet)
  • Maintaining a good sleep pattern
  • Reducing stress
  • Staying informed of new Alzheimer’s prevention tools
  • Staying socially engaged
There has been a phenomenal increase in evidence from clinical research studies finding that changing the diet promotes brain health across the continuum of Alzheimer’s. Diet has also been found to help improve normal age-related cognitive decline.

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Nutrients that have been studied for Alzheimer’s prevention include:
  • Antioxidants (flavanols)
  • Folic acid, B6 and B12
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (from wild caught cold water fish such as salmon)
  • Vitamin D
It’s vital to understand that the term “prevention” means many things when it comes to Alzheimer’s, such as interventions that may prevent a person at high risk from progressing to early Alzheimer’s disease or MCI. Prevention measures could also be aimed at preventing early Alzheimer’s from progressing to Alzheimer’s dementia — this is where most of the research studies have focused.
Another application for intervention calls for earlier diagnoses before symptoms arise. Many medical experts feel this is where hope lies in future prevention success.
Although there are many promising new prevention measures being studied for Alzheimer’s disease today, many more clinical research studies are needed to enable scientists to learn which interventions help prevent the onset and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms.


Meet the Author
Sherry Christiansen

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom (of which OurParents is a trademark) and the reader.  Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site.  Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.