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Study Finds Combo that May Slow the Progression of Alzheimer's

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in Chicago on April 27th, 2009 found that Vitamin E and anti-inflammatory drugs may slow the decline of mental and physical abilities in people with Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers analyzed clinical data from 540 patients in the Massachusetts General Hospital's Memory Disorders Unit.

All of the patients were receiving standard care for Alzheimer's at the hospital.

The researchers randomly divided the participants into four groups. The first group consisted of 208 patients who were given vitamin E but no anti-inflammatory. The second group of 49 patients took an anti-inflammatory but no vitamin E. The third group of 177 patients took both vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory, and the remaining 106 participants took neither.

Although the daily dose of vitamin E was very broad (200-2000 units) most of the patients were given doses of 800-1000 units twice daily.

Every six months, the patients were tested for cognitive ability and the ability to perform daily tasks on their own such as dressing and personal care.
After an average of 3 years, the researchers saw a mild to moderate decline in cognitive function among the participants taking vitamin E only. There was also a small decline for the patients taking only the anti-inflammatory medicine.

Patients taking both vitamin E and anti-inflammatory medicine saw the most positive results in the study, and a slowing of decline in overall function.

Researchers are ready to initiate further studies to determine the long-term balance of risks vs. benefits associated with taking vitamin E and anti-inflammatory medicine to mediate Alzheimer's.

Currently, 46 million people suffer from Alzheimer's globally, and this number is expected to rise significantly to 106 million by 2050.

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