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brain health

Vitamin E May Aid in Slowing down Alzheimer’s disease

A new study published in the January 1st online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association discussed findings conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In this study, the school’s faculty worked with the Veterans Administration Medical Centers and found that alpha tocepherol, otherwise known as Vitamin E with antioxidants, could help slow functional decline of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Problems of functional decline include issues with daily activities; shopping, preparing meals, planning, and traveling. This study could bring much welcomed aid from the estimated 5.4 million families and caregivers of 5.1 million patients suffering with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Mary Sano, PhD, trial co-investigator, professor within the Icahn School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry, and director of research at the James J, Peters Veteran’s Administration Medical Center at the Bronx, New York headed up this study. She stated that since the days of cholesterase inhibitors, such as galantamine, donepezil, and rivastigmine, there were few options for patients with mild-to-moderate dementia. However, with the results of the current study run, the use of vitamin E could delay the progression of functional decline within mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease patients by 19 percent per year, which would translate into 6.2 months benefit over the placebo. Vitamin E is nowadays easily purchasable and non-expensive, and it could be an effective treatment strategy for Alzheimer’s patients.

Team AD, the Veteran’s Administration Cooperative Randomized Trial of Vitamin E and mimantine in Alzheimer’s disease, examined the effects of vitamin E 2,000 IU/d, and 20 mg/d of memenatine, the placebo used. For the study, testing was conducted at 14 different Veteran’s Affairs Medical Centers, 613 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were followed from August 2007 until September 2012. Dr. Sano reported that in previous studies she conducted with moderately severe Alzheimer’s, vitamin E also slowed the disease’s progression.
References:
1) Maurice W. Dysken, Mary Sano, Sanjay Asthana, Julia E. Vertrees, Muralidhar Pallaki, Maria Llorente, Susan Love, Gerard D. Schellenberg, J. Riley McCarten, Julie Malphurs, Susana Prieto, Peijun Chen, David J. Loreck, George Trapp, Rajbir S. Bakshi, Jacobo E. Mintzer, Judith L. Heidebrink, Ana Vidal-Cardona, Lillian M. Arroyo, Angel R. Cruz, Sally Zachariah, Neil W. Kowall, Mohit P. Chopra, Suzanne Craft, Stephen Thielke, Carolyn L. Turvey, Catherine Woodman, Kimberly A. Monnell, Kimberly Gordon, Julie Tomaska, Yoav Segal, Peter N. Peduzzi, Peter D. Guarino. Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease. JAMA, 2014; 311 (1): 33 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.282834
2) Mount Sinai Medical Center (2013, December 31). Vitamin E may delay decline in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2013/12/131231163755.htm

By: Lauren Horne

The Roskamp Institute is a 501(c)3 research facility dedicated to translating the efforts of its qualified research staff into real-world results for those suffering from neurological diseases. To learn more about our programs and to get information about donating, visit www.rfdn.org.

Eleven new Alzheimer's Risk Gense

A study by the International Genomics Project, published in Nature Genetics, identified eleven previously unknown genes that increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The research, which brought together leading Alzheimer’s researchers, was comprised of four teams from one hundred and forty-five global academic centers working toward the common goal of determining new information surrounding the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the most significant findings of the study, which involved the genome data of 74,076 people from fifteen different countries, relates to the HLA-DRB5/DRB1 major histocompatibility complex region of the brain. The research shows that this same region, associated with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, is involved somehow in Alzheimer’s disease.

The discovered genes revolved mostly around late onset Alzheimer’s, the most common type of the disease. Professor Julie Williams, head of neurodegeneration at Cardiff School of Medicine’s Medical Research Council, says that the teams can now shift their focus to early on-set Alzheimer’s, the most severe form that usually begins around ages 40-50. The Professor says that indentified genetic architecture may make finding new genes easier, and that the genes yield clues for scientists to seek out during research.

These eleven genes bring the total of indentified risk genes to twenty-one, and scientists hope that such findings will help improve knowledge about the mechanisms behind the neurodegenerative disease. The four groups used genome-wide association analysis work that previously identified the first ten risk genes. Professor Williams cautions that although twenty-one of these genes are now uncovered, a large section of genetic risk for Alzheimer’s remains unknown. Williams ends by saying that the identification of more risk genes is imperative to the continued research and development of these findings.

Sources:
1) Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer's disease; Jean-Charles Lambert, Carla A Ibrahim-Verbaas, Denise Harold, Adam C Naj, Rebecca Sims, Céline Bellenguez, Gyungah Jun, Anita L DeStefano, et al.; Nature Genetics Published online 27 October 2013; DOI:10.1038/ng.2802.
2) Medical News Today (Published 10/28/13). Scientists Discover Eleven New Alzheimer’s Risk Genes. Retrieved 10/30/13 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267998.php

By Emma Henson

The Roskamp Institute is a 501(c)3 research facility dedicated to translating the efforts of its qualified research staff into real-world results for those suffering from neurological diseases. To learn more about our programs and to get information about donating, visit www.rfdn.org.

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