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Cognitive decline: Prevention & early intervention

Like so many other health conditions, prevention is better than cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive decline. By waiting until you notice symptoms, the opportunity to stop the disease that begins decades before a diagnosis is made that much harder.

Older couple being affectionate

Alzheimer's begins

20+ years before

memory loss and other symptoms develop.

Zhang 2021

Types of cognitive decline defined

Subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) a self-reported decline in cognitive function associated with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. About 79% of people with SCI develop MCI and 21% develop AD over 7 years. (Cave 2019)

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) a syndrome characterised by a decline in cognition but relatively intact activities of daily living. People with MCI have an increased risk of developing dementia, and MCI is often referred to as a transitional stage between healthy ageing and dementia. Up to 35% of Australians aged 70 and older have MCI and 15% of those will go on to develop dementia within a year. (Steiner 2018)


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) characterised by amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fibres (neurofibrillary or tau) on the brain, AD is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for up to 70% of all dementias.

Dementia the umbrella term for a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain; not one specific disease. Types include AD, vascular dementia, Huntington’s dementia with Lewy bodies, alcohol-related dementia.

Symptoms of cognitive decline include:

  • Progressive, persistent and frequent memory loss or difficulties, especially of recent events

  • Vagueness in everyday conversation

  • Confusion

  • Personality changes and emotional unpredictability

  • Apathy and withdrawal

  • Loss of ability to perform everyday tasks

  • Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities

  • Taking longer to do routine tasks

  • Forgetting well-known people or places

  • Inability to process questions and instructions

  • Deterioration of social skills

250 people are diagnosed everyday with dementia in Australia and it is the leading cause of death for women.

CSIRO and Dementia Australia 2023

Yoga Class with older couple

Causes of cognitive decline

AD is a multifactorial, progressive, neurodegenerative disease, characterised by memory loss, personality changes and a decline in cognitive function. While the exact cause of AD is unclear, recent studies point to lifestyle, diet, environmental and genetic factors as contributors to disease progression. (Bredesen 2018)

The underlying pathology is neuronal degeneration and loss of synapses in the hippocampus, cortex and subcortical structures. This loss results in gross atrophy of the affected regions, resulting in loss of memory, inability to learn new information, mood swings, executive dysfunction and an inability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs). (Gregory 2021)

The processes of the development of AD are actually a protective response to several classes of insults: pathogens/inflammation, insulin resistance, toxins, and deficiencies of nutrients, hormones or trophic factors. (Bredesen 2018) In other words, it is a normal response by the brain to the negative onslaughts on the body over time.

Genetic factors account for 5-10% of cases that are familial Alzheimer’s, with the other 90-95% being sporadic. Being heterozygous or homozygous for the ApoE4 allele significantly increases the risk of developing AD.

Efforts to find a cure for AD have so far been disappointing and the drugs currently available to treat the disease have limited effectiveness, likely due to the multiple factors contributing to the condition, especially if the disease is in its moderate-severe stage. (Gregory 2021)

While effective drugs may be developed, other approaches, such as treating risk factors, may delay the disease onset or slow progression. Recent studies suggest that dietary and other lifestyle changes are the most effective way currently to prevent, slow or reverse AD disease progression. (Rao 2021)

Enjoying a Meal with family

40% of dementia cases are associated with 12  modifiable risk factors.

Livingston 2020

Modifiable risk factors contributing to AD progression:

  • Physical inactivity

  • Infrequent social contact

  • Less education/learning

  • Smoking

  • Sleep hygiene

  • Stress management

  • Nutrient and hormone deficiencies

  • Alcohol intake

  • Air pollution

  • Inflammation and oxidative stress

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction

  • Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance

  • Obesity

  • Depression

  • High blood pressure, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease

  • Head trauma/injury

  • Pathogens

  • Gut hyperpermeability

  • Altered GIT and/or oral microbiome

  • Hearing impairment

AD is not caused by a single event or just one risk factor; there are many inputs that affect the complex systems of our body and influence whether or not AD develops or progresses.


And just like any risk factors: the more you eliminate, the lower your risk.

Bredesen ReCODE treatment protocol

AD is one of the top causes of death globally, with someone diagnosed every three seconds, and mainstream medicine currently offers no sustainable medical treatment. Dr Bredesen’s groundbreaking protocol has proven to reverse early-stage dementia.

ReCODE is a comprehensive and personalised multi-therapeutic approach for reversing symptoms of cognitive decline and optimising brain health using nutrition, exercise (physical and mental), sleep, stress management, detoxification, supplements and hormones to address the risk factors that drive the symptoms.

The ReCODE Program™ involves dealing with more than 50 risk factors contributing to cognitive decline.

The earlier in the disease process you start, and with sustained commitment, the greater your chance for improvement.

ReCODE™ is based around the main area of consideration that, when practiced together in a state of mindfulness, provide synergistic actions and noticeable results:

  1. Nutrition and fasting

  2. Exercise

  3. Sleep

  4. Stress

  5. Brain training and social connectivity

  6. Detoxification

  7. Supplementation

The Bredesen 7 diagram
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