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Vitamin E may help slow progression of Alzheimer's: study

Written by: QMI Agency
Jan. 1, 2014

A new study out of Minneapolis may have made a "breakthrough" discovery in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. (Fotolia)


A new study out of Minneapolis may have made a "breakthrough" discovery in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers discovered that Vitamin E can alter the course of the disease by slowing the progression of Alzheimer's in patients with mild-to-moderate cases. This is the first time in any treatment that medication helped to alter the affect of dementia in late stages.

The study, sponsored by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, monitored the daily living skills of more than 600 elders with a high dose of vitamin E over a two-year period. The research showed that the decline in elders abilities to do everyday things, like getting dressed, making meals or even having a conversation, was delayed by almost six months.

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The elders taking the vitamin E required less assistance from caregivers, as the medication helped them to keep a major skill that otherwise would have been lost.

Although, the study showed that vitamin E could not preserve the mind of those patients with Alzheimer's, nor did it help the patients who took it with other Alzheimer's medications.

"It's not a miracle or, obviously, a cure," said study leader Dr. Maurice Dysken of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. "The best we can do at this point is slow down the rate of progression."

Following the publication of the study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors have still warned people that vitamin E is not going to help prevent the development of Alzheimer's, but the study is a step in the right direction.

"This is truly a breakthrough paper and constitutes what we have been working toward for nearly three decades: the first truly disease-modifying intervention for Alzheimer's," said Dr Sam Gandy of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "I am very enthusiastic about the results."

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