At 86 years old, Bob Sessions has never had a sip of alcohol, but he's hoping that red wine will hold the key to saving his memory.
"I'm buying time. Prolonging my life,” he said.
George recently enrolled in a study where doctors are investigating whether a compound in red grape skins called resveratrol can stop Alzheimer's progression.
"This is a totally new approach. We've never tried this before for Alzheimer's disease,” said neurologist Raymond Turner.
Turner is leading the study at Georgetown University. Twenty-five other institutions are also participating In this government funded research, including the VA Medical Center in Seattle.
Dr. Elaine Peskind says that resveratrol is thought to promote healthy aging and longevity.
"It also has potent antioxidant and neuroprotective effects and it's good for the growth and survival and creation of new brain cells and also decreases the amount of amyloid which would be the active process in Alzheimer's disease.
Patients in the study won't actually be drinking red wine. They'll be given pills with a concentrated form of the compound.
"The amount of wine they say you'd need to get the dose that we're using in the study is about 32 bottles of red wine,” said Dr. Peskind.
That's 32 bottles a day.
"You couldn't possibly drink this much red wine at home,” said Dr. Turner.
Julia and Bob Sessions say they realize this study won't cure his disease, but even if it can slow it down, it's worth it.
"I want to stay as alive as I can for as long as I can,” said Bob.
This Phase 2 study is still considered early stage research. To be eligible, patients must be over the age of 50 with mild to moderate Alzheimer's and have a caregiver who can come to the study appointments: Ten in all, spread out over a year.
Study information 1-800-317-5382