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Vitamins vs AD?

Ian Goddard igoddard at erols.mom
Sat Mar 15 23:50:59 EST 2003


Can Vitamins Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Pilot Study Completed; 40-Center Therapeutic Trial Underway

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center’s Memory
Disorders Program have published the encouraging results of a
preliminary study and are leading a 40 center therapeutic trial to see
whether three common vitamins -- folic acid, B12 and B6 -- can slow
the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  

In a pilot study, published in the March /April issue of the American
Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry the Georgetown researchers -- led by
Paul S. Aisen, M.D., professor of neurology, and principal
investigator of the ongoing multi-center trial -- found that high dose
vitamins reduce levels of the amino acid homocysteine in individuals
with Alzheimer’s disease.  Previous studies have linked homocysteine
to Alzheimer’s disease. Investigators at Columbia University,
University of Texas, Southwestern and University of California, Davis
also participated in the pilot study.

"Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have higher levels of
homocysteine than people of similar age who do not have the disease,"
said Dr. Aisen.  "In our vitamin pilot study we have demonstrated that
we are able to reduce levels of homocysteine using a vitamin regimen
that is both safe and inexpensive.  Now we are conducting a
therapeutic trial to determine whether use of the vitamins folic acid,
B12 and B6 to lower homocysteine level has a favorable impact on the
course of the disease."  

The multicenter vitamin study, known as Vital (VITamins to Slow
Alzheimer’s Disease), funded by the National Institute on Aging, has
just begun recruiting patients across the country.   Four hundred
individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease will be randomly
assigned to receive vitamins or placebos.  An assessment of their
cognitive function -- memory, thinking and language -- will be made to
determine the progress of their disease during the course of 18

Dr. Aisen, who designed and oversees VITAL, views the recently
published pilot study as the first step in the development of a
potentially important way of slowing the course of Alzheimer’s
disease.  But he cautions, "We are not suggesting that people go out
and take high doses of these vitamins.  There are possible downsides,
including peripheral nerve damage.  The multi-site therapeutic trial
will show us whether high doses of folic acid, B12 and B6 can indeed
slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and become an
important therapy for a devastating disease that affects 4 million

Family members of individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s
disease in the Washington, DC area who are interested in participating
in the trial at Georgetown should contact the Memory Disorders Program
at 202-784-6671.


Also see:



  Ongoing CR monkey study update: "In the monkeys...those on
  reduced feeding since the study started are dying at a rate 
  that is about half that of the monkeys receiving a full food
  ration." Associated Press: Eating less may extend human life.
  August 1, 2002 : http://www.msnbc.com/news/788746.asp?0si=-


  "To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." Benjamin Franklin   

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