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Reversing effects of Alzheimer's as easy as reading out loud

Singing is something Genevieve loves to do. At 98 years old, she doesn't seem to forget any of the words.

Singing is something Genevieve loves to do. At 98 years old, she doesn't seem to forget any of the words.

One of the keys to her ability to stay social and interested in life is her participation in a Japanese learning therapy called SAIDO, which means again.

SAIDO Learning is being used at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes in Grand Rapids.

Jillian Thomas with SAIDO says this drug-free therapy helps keep the mind active. "With dementia the frontal cortex is typically what malfunctions the most and they found that with these simple exercises they can actually wake up that part of the brain and we can see glimpses of them that we weren't seeing before," she explains.

For 30 minutes a day, five days a week, participants like Genevieve go through systematic tasks, from reading, to math. All of it is done out loud, which is the key to making SAIDO therapy work. Thomas says, "That's to fire their pre-frontal cortex and work that part of the brain."

Linda Kirpes is the lead SAIDO supporter at Covenant she says SAIDO not only improves memory, but also helps with anger issues that affect those living with dementia. "What we find is that if we see a person wake up with agitation we absolutely make sure that there's a SAIDO session," she explained. "And what we see is there's a decrease in that agitation."

From better memory and mood to more social engagement, Kirpes agrees this drug free therapy is showing promise for patients. "That we can embrace the disease and treat the symptoms and improve the quality of their lives."

For more information about SAIDO Learning, click here.