According to a recent survey performed in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease appears to be the most prevalent form of dementia in the country. Before the disease is clinically evident, it presents symptoms around 15 to 20 years prior. A major component of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the abnormal deposition of protein pieces in the brain known as beta-amyloid. This protein clumps together and forms plaque.
Due to the fact that 5 million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer’s disease, and that the rising Baby Boomer generation is slowly approaching the age to be concerned with it, serious research is being done to try to find effective treatments. One such study shows a possible correlation between Vitamin E supplements and steady ability to do daily tasks for Alzheimer’s patients. It suggests that vitamin E supplements may slow down Alzheimer’s decline in regards to how they can perform daily tasks in patients with mild to moderate forms of the disease.
This research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discusses the effect of vitamin E and memantine on functional decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Memantine is a drug prescribed for AD to protect nerve cells from damage. Researchers were interested in observing how this combination might affect patients with mild to moderate forms of the disease and worked with the Department of Veteran Affairs to conduct the study. Subjects were given 2000 IU’s of vitamin E in conjunction with memantine on a daily basis. Another group of patients with mild to moderate AD were given a placebo.
The study concluded that while vitamin E supplements did not delay memory loss or cognitive deterioration, they did improve the performance of daily tasks. Those subjects that took the vitamin E supplements performed better than the placebo group on tests that examined performance of daily living activities, such as bathing and eating. More research is needed to replicate the findings.
To know more about Alzheimer’s disease and current trends related to it, or to see if you can participate in current neurological research being done by Dr. Michael Tuchman and his team at Palm Beach Neurological Center, contact us.
Dysken MW, Sano M, Asthana S, et al. Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease: The TEAM-AD VA Cooperative Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2014;311(1):33-44. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.282834.