An EU-funded study shows that a patented nutritional drink containing fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients, consumed daily, may help conserve memory and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia are devastating illnesses, estimated to affect more than 47 million people, and for which there is currently no known cure. The number of people affected is on the rise, with some expecting it to double within the next 20 years.
In a recent study, researchers looked at the possibility of using nutritional intervention to slow the onset of certain Alzheimer’s symptoms. The study involved a particular nutritional drink called Souvenaid, which was given to patients in the pre-dementia (prodromal) stage of Alzheimer’s once a day for a twelve month period. The drink contains a patented formula of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients.
The results showed that, compared other patients who had received a placebo drink, patients receiving Souvenaid suffered less brain shrinkage, particularly in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that helps to store short-term memories for long-term retrieval. Patients who had received the nutritional drink also preserved greater ability to remember, to think, and to carry out everyday tasks.
Although scientists have known for some time that certain nutrients can have a neuroprotective effect on the brain, effective interventions using single nutrients has been difficult to develop. This new study suggests that the key may be in combining nutrients in order to increase their effect.
The study is touted as the first research to confirm that nutritional intervention can help patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. These results are important because individuals in the prodromal stage of Alzheimer’s currently have no approved, available pharmaceutical treatment options.
Written by Linda Jensen