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  1. Health and Nutrition News

  2. Jun 7, 2024

Lifestyle Changes Significantly Improve Cognition and Function in Early Alzheimer’s Disease

In a breakthrough study, a healthy plant-based diet, along with mild exercise, stress management, and group support has been shown to improve both subjective and objective signs of brain function in individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish and colleagues at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, the study included 51 individuals, half of whom were assigned to the treatment group. Clinical Global Impression of Change scores improved or stabilized in 71% of treatment-group participants, and those who adhered most consistently to the diet and lifestyle program achieved the greatest benefits. Meanwhile, 68% of those who made no changes had worsened cognitive functioning. In addition, the Aβ 42/40 ratio, a blood marker of amyloid protein linked to Alzheimer's disease, improved by 6.4% in the intervention group, compared with an 8.3% decline in the control group. Overall, the results compared favorably to pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and were accompanied by additional benefits, such as weight loss and improved cardiovascular health.

Dr. Ornish will be the lead-off presenter at the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, which will feature a special section on brain health, on Aug. 15, 2024. Registration is now open at


Ornish D, Madison C, Kivipelto M et al. Effects of intensive lifestyle changes on the progression of mild cognitive impairment or early dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Alz Res Therapy. 2024:16(122). doi:10.1186/s13195-024-01482-z

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