No Single Mechanism Drug has Provided a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, which is why a Functional Medicine Approach is Best

Johnson and Johnson has recently announced that they have pulled the plug on another drug–atabecestat–designed to block amyloid plaque buildup because it didn’t work and had significant side effects. This drug was designed to block Beta-secretase 1 (BACE1), which is an enzyme involved in beta-amyloid production.  Drugs to block this enzyme (BACE inhibitors) in theory would prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid and (per the Amyloid hypothesis) may help slow or stop Alzheimers disease. 

One of the problems with this hypothesis is that the laying down of beta-amyloid protein is not the real causative factor in Alzheimer’s disease. The body lays down the beta-amyloid protein in response to heavy metals or pathogens–viruses or bacteria–that create inflammation in the brain that the body is attempting to protect against. The amyloid protein is a protective coating for the brain.

A Functional Medicine approach, such as the one outlined out by Dr. Dale Bredesen in his paper, Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease(2), and his book, The End of Alzheimer’s(3), is liable to be more effective because it attempts to modify the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s.  The medical approach that targets one particular pathway has not proven effective after many failed attempts at drug development. The Functional Medicine approach is more complicated, looking at multiple pathways, mechanisms, and triggers, but this is needed for a complex condition. Dr. Weitz has studied Dr. Bredesen’s ReCODE approach and can provide a Functional Medicine approach to investigate some of the many possible underlying factors that can result in dementia and the pathological processes that result in autoimmune conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

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