Vitamin E may slow
Alzheimer's disease
Mon May 4, 2009
By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health)
- An analysis of "real-world"
clinical data indicates that
vitamin E, and drugs that
reduce generalized
inflammation, may slow the
decline of mental and
physical abilities in people
with Alzheimer's disease (AD)
over the long term.

"Our results are consistent
for a potential benefit of
vitamin E on slowing
functional decline and a
smaller possible benefit of
medications on slowing
cognitive decline in patients
suffering from Alzheimer's
disease," Dr. Alireza Atri told
Reuters Health.

Atri, at Massachusetts
General Hospital (MGH), the
VA Bedford Medical Center,
and Harvard Medical School,
Boston, led the National
Institutes of
Health-sponsored research.
The findings, reported at the
annual meeting of the
American Geriatrics Society
in Chicago, stem from data
on 540 patients treated at
the MGH Memory Disorders

All of the patients were
receiving standard-of-care
treatment with a drug
intended to help patients with
Alzheimer's. As part of their
clinical care, 208 patients
also took vitamin E but no
anti-inflammatory, 49 took an
anti-inflammatory but no
vitamin E, 177 took both
vitamin E and an
anti-inflammatory, and 106
took neither.

While the daily dose of
vitamin E ranged from 200 to
2000 units, the majority of
patients were given high
doses that ranged from 800
units daily to 1000 units twice

Each patient's performance
on cognitive tests and their
ability to carry out daily
functions such as dressing
and personal care were
assessed every 6 months.
After an average of 3 years,
"there was a modest slowing
of decline in function in those
patients taking vitamin E,"
study investigator Michael R.
Flaherty noted in a
telephone interview with
Reuters Health.

Flaherty, a second-year
student at the University of
New England College of
Osteopathic Medicine in
Biddeford, Maine, presented
the findings at the meeting.
He added that the treatment
benefit from vitamin E was
"small to medium" but
increased with time.

Taking an anti-inflammatory
medication was associated
with "very consistent but
generally only small effects
on slowing long-term decline
in cognitive functioning," Atri
told Reuters Health.

However, in patients who
took both vitamin E and
medications, there appeared
to be an additive effect in
terms of slowing overall

Given that past studies have
produced equivocal results,
the investigators conclude
that further studies are
needed to assess the
long-term balance of risks
versus benefits for people
with Alzheimer's disease from
taking vitamin E and
anti-inflammatory drugs.
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Omega 3 fatty acid helps healthy people, but not Alzheimer's patients
By David Liu

One study presented on July 12 at the Alzheimer's Association 2009
International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna
suggests that taking DHA, a common omega 3 fatty acid may not help people
with Alzheimer's disease.

But another study presented at the same conference suggests that this
omega 3 fatty acid can help improve memory healthy elderly people in a
matter of six months.

"These two studies – and other recent Alzheimer's therapy trials – raise the
possibility that treatments for Alzheimer's must be given very early in the
disease for them to be truly effective," said William Thies, PhD, Chief Medical
& Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer's Association.

"For that to happen, we need to get much better at early detection and
diagnosis of Alzheimer's, in order to test therapies at earlier stages of the
disease and enable earlier intervention."

DHA or docosahexaenoic acid naturally occurs in the body in small amounts
and is found abundant in the brain. DHA can be extracted from some marine
microalgae and fatty fish. Because of the concern about the environmental
pollution, more people now than ever prefer DHA from microalgae...
More evidence that fish is brain food
Aug 14, 2009
(Reuters Health)

Older adults in developing countries who regularly eat fish seem to have a
lower risk of dementia, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among nearly 15,000 older adults living in China,
India or one of five Latin American countries, the odds of having dementia
generally declined as fish consumption rose.

For each increase in participants' reported fish intake -- from never, to some
days of the week, to most or all days of the week -- the prevalence of
dementia dipped by 19 percent.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, mirror
evidence from some studies in developed nations.

The findings also suggest that the fish-dementia link does not simply reflect
the benefits of a generally higher-quality diet. The study found that adults
who got the most meat in their diets tended to have a somewhat higher
prevalence of dementia than those who never ate meat...
Alzheimer's Disease
New Test Predicts Whether Memory
Problems Will Lead to Alzheimer's
By Alyssa Sparacino
Aug 10th 2010

The work of Belgian scientists has unlocked greater potential for a new method
to predict and diagnose people with Alzheimer's disease, Reuters Health

By measuring particular proteins in patients' spinal fluid, doctors can more
accurately determine whether or not someone has the debilitating memory
disease. They can also foresee if a current memory problem will develop into
the disease and also detect early signs of its onset in healthy individuals.

The study, which appears in the Archives of Neurology, looked at spinal fluid
from 114 adults with normal brain function, 200 with mild cognitive impairment
and 102 already diagnoses with Alzheimer's disease.

Reuters Health reports that by identifying one protein associated with the
disease and another linked to healthy brain function, researchers were able to
successfully diagnose Alzheimer's in 90 percent of patients. They linked to
traces of the proteins beta amyloid and tau that are commonly found in the
brains of people who suffer from this form of dementia.

Geert De Meyer, of Ghent University in Belgium, and his team correctly identified
each person with memory impairments that would lead to Alzheimer's within
the next five years, and identified Alzheimer proteins in 36 percent of healthy
people, Reuters Health reports.

Alzheimer's affects 26 million people around the world, and currently the only
way to confirm a diagnosis is through an invasive autopsy of the brain.

Prior to dying, doctors attempt to identify the disease by administering written
tests and by process of elimination of other causes like typical memory loss,
tumors and excessive alcohol consumption. They can also use biomarkers,
like the beta amyloid and tau proteins, to better identify the disease sooner.

But new rules were proposed in July from experts at the National Institute on
Aging and the Alzheimer's Association that included measuring spinal fluid to
diagnose Alzheimer's patients even before they show symptoms, according to