A daily nutritional drink can improve the memory of people with very early Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.
More than 300 people with “prodromal” Alzheimer’s disease – people with memory problems that are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia - had their brains scanned during a two year study.
Half were given a daily drink containing Fortasyn Connect, a patented combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients, and the other half were given a control drink with equal calorie content but without the nutrients.
After two years there was no difference in cognitive performance between the groups but when the participants were tested with a more sensitive exam to look at episodic memory, those who took the supplement performed better than the control group. They had reduced brain shrinkage in some areas including the hippocampus, which is involved in memory.
The final results of the EU-funded clinical trial were presented for the first time on 10 March at the Advances in Alzheimer’s Therapy congress in Athens.
There was no evidence presented to show whether the drink has an effect on progression to full Alzheimer’s disease.
The drink is not available on prescription, but can be bought as nutritional supplement over the counter.
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Today’s results show that an over-the-counter nutritional supplement can bring memory improvements for people in the very early stages of the Alzheimer’s disease, providing some relief to one of the most common symptoms. However, the study wasn’t considered an overall success as there were no wider improvements in cognition and there was no evidence that the drink can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease."
Dr Pickett said if early Alzheimer’s disease is suspected, the supplement is one option for people to try, along with taking regular exercise, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep their memory sharp.
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