Next to “Cancer”, the most frightening word in everyday language is “Alzheimer’s”. It strikes without warning and finding a “cure” is next to impossible, researchers say.
But just yesterday, groundbreaking news hit my desk from England about an in-depth study that shows dramatic hope to “put off” Alzheimer’s and maybe totally beat it.
A new trial suggests high doses of B vitamins may HALVE THE RATE of brain shrinkage in older people experiencing some of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain shrinkage is one of the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, which often leads to dementia. Here’s some quick facts on brain shrinkage:
- The average brain shrinks at a rate of 0.5% a year after the age of 60.
- The brains of those with mild cognitive impairment shrink twice as fast. (1.0%)
- Alzheimer’s patients have brain shrinkage of 2.5% a year.
If we can find a way to slow the rate of brain shrinkage, this could be the first step towards finding a way to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, researchers believe.
The study, published in the journal Public Library of Science One from Oxford University included members from several departments within the University, including members from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA), looked at 168 elderly people experiencing levels of mental decline known as mild cognitive impairment. This condition, marked by mild memory lapses and language problems, is beyond what can be explained by normal aging and can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
In the trial study, one-half of the volunteers were given a daily tablet containing the B vitamins Folate, B6 and B12 at levels well above the recommended daily amount. The other half were given a placebo. After two years, the rate at which their brains had shrunk was measured.
The clinical trial found that on average, in those taking vitamin supplements, brain shrinkage slowed by 30%. In some cases it slowed by more than 50%, making their brain atrophy about the same as people without cognitive impairment.
Did you catch that? Up to 50% improvement! This is significant by any measurement.