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Nutritional drink could help ease early signs of Alzheimer's disease

10-Mar-16
Article By: Ellie Spanswick, News Editor

A nutritional drink that is available to buy over-the-counter has been proved to improve memory in people with mild cognitive impairment due to the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The final results of the EU-funded LipiDiDiet clinical trial were presented today at the Advances in Alzheimer’s Therapy congress in Athens and revealed the impact of a nutritional drink containing the active ingredient, Fortasyn Connect.

Head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, Dr James Pickett, said: “Today’s results show that an over-the-counter nutritional supplement can bring memory improvements for people in the very early stages of the Alzheimer’s disease, providing some relief to one of the most common symptoms. However, the study wasn’t considered an overall success as there were no wider improvements in cognition and there was no evidence that the drink can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The trial studied 300 people with ‘prodromal’ Alzheimer’s disease – people with memory problems that are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia. For two years, half of the participants were given a daily drink containing Fortasyn Connect which contains a combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients. The other half of the group were given a control drink with equal calorie content but without the extra nutrients.

Two years later, researchers found that there was no difference in the cognitive ability of the two groups, making the overall trial results negative, however, when participants were tested with a more sensitive test focusing on episodic memory, those who had consumed the supplement performed better than the control group.

Study participants had their brains scanned for shrinkage throughout the study and those who took the supplement had reduced shrinkage, including the hippocampus which is involved in memory.

Researchers noted no evidence presented to show whether the drink has an effect on progression to full Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Pickett added: “People worried about their memory should visit their GP for advice. If early Alzheimer’s disease is suspected, this supplement is one option for people to try, along with taking regular exercise, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep their memory sharp.”

Products containing Fortasyn Connect can be bought as nutritional supplements over the counter, without a prescription.

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