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High Vitamin E dose reported to reduce Alzheimer’s decline

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According to a new study, a high daily dose of Vitamin E reduced functional decline in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease by approximately six months. The findings about six months, according to a new study. The research was conducted at various facilities in the US: TEAM-AD VA Cooperative Randomized Trial. It was published on January 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that currently affects more than five million Americans; it results in memory loss and eventually the ability to think and function.

The researchers note that Vitamin E and memantine, an Alzheimer’s medication, have been shown to have beneficial effects in moderately severe Alzheimer disease; however, the medical literature contains limited evidence of their effect on mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, they conducted a study to determine whether Vitamin E, memantine, or both could slow progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The study group comprised 613 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease; it was initiated in August 2007 and concluded in September 2012 at 14 Veterans Affairs medical centers. The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial. Meaning that neither the participants nor the researchers were of aware of which medicine was given. The patients received either 2,000 IU of Vitamin E daily (152 participants), 20 mg of memantine daily (155 participants), the combination (154 participants), or a placebo (152 participants). The main outcome measurement was the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) Inventory score (range: 0-78). Secondary outcome measurements included cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional, and caregiver measures.

The investigators reviewed data from 561 participants (Vitamin E: 140; memantine: 142; combination: 139; placebo: 140); 52 subjects were excluded because of a lack of any follow-up data. Over an average follow-up period of 2.27 years, ADCS-ADL Inventory scores decreased by 3.15 units; however, the decrease was less in the Vitamin E group, compared to the placebo group. In the memantine group, the score decreased 1.98 units less than the placebo group’s decline. The investigators noted that, compared to the placebo group, the change in the Vitamin E group translates into a delay in clinical progression of 19% per year, or a delay of approximately 6.2 months over the follow-up period. In addition, caregiver time increased least in the Vitamin E group. All-cause mortality and safety analyses were also conducted; they found a difference only on the serious adverse event of “infections or infestations,” with greater frequencies in the memantine (31 events in 23 participants) and combination groups (44 events in 31 participants) compared with placebo (13 events in 11 participants).

The authors concluded that among patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, 2,000 IU of Vitamin E daily, compared with the placebo, resulted in decreased functional decline. They found no significant differences in the groups receiving memantine alone or memantine plus Vitamin E. They noted that their findings suggest that Vitamin E can benefit patients suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease by slowing functional decline and decreasing caregiver burden.