Could antioxidants help memory and prevent Alzheimer's? A new study is looking into it. Other studies have shown most supplements do not prevent memory loss, despite claims to the contrary.
"This study looked at specific antioxidant never studied before this way. The belief is that it will prevent the brain from getting damaged over time," Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.
Babs Ziielazinski is a dynamic octogenarian who's taken to the keyboard in the last few months.
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"I can do the fingering with the right hand, and I can fiddle a little bit with the chords and, but it sounds pretty good to me," Babs said.
Her enthusiasm is part of a plan to keep her mind active for the long term. "So maybe if I get to the age of a hundred, I'll still know what I'm doing," she said.
She's also joined a Rush University Medical Center study to see if an antioxidant supplement can prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Raj Shah is a reseacher on the project: "What we're trying to do is to test to see if the cerefolin nac, which is a combination of high dose b vitamins and an antioxidant, will help to replace some of the antioxidant capabilities that the body is losing," Shah said.
The theory: As we age, antioxidant production drops and may allow damaging proteins to build-up in the brain.
"The oxidative stress causes the nerve cells not to function as well, and to die sooner, and that brings out the symptoms," Shah said.
Participants take a multi-vitamin plus another pill, which may be the antioxidant booster cerefolin; NAC.
"It'll be interesting to see if the combination of those two agents together seem to bring a little bit more benefit than just the b vitamins by themselves," Shah said.
Whether the supplement actually helps is still up in the air.
Results will help Babs decide whether her memories can be preserved by a pill.
"Other antioxidants; like vitamins E, A and C, have not been proven to help," Dr. Hensel said.
- About 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.
- The cost of care for all Americans with Alzheimer's disease is about $100 billion annually.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are now testing a supplement, called cerefolin® NAC, as a possible treatment to slow memory loss.
For information about the clinical trial, log onto: ClinicalTrials.gov . Then type the trial identification number in the search box: nct00597376.
For information on Alzheimer's disease: