In the News- May 20, 2013- The National Academy of Sciences is reporting on promising research from Oxford University which may hold out great hope for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The authors show that a select group of AD patients, namely those with high homocysteine levels, appear to benefit greatly from a simple combination of B vitamins. Using MRI to follow changes in the brains of elderly patients receiving vitamin therapy, as compared to a group receiving placebo, the authors demonstrated that B vitamin therapy reduces \"by as much as seven fold, the cerebral atrophy in those gray matter regions specifically vulnerable to the AD process\"
In a previous study (2010), the same authors also demonstrated that high doses of B vitamins slowed the rate of whole brain shrinkage up to 53% in patients with mild cognitive impairment
Supplementation in the most recent study consisted of Folic acid (.0.8 mg), B6 (20 mg), and B12 (0.5 mg) Lead author David Smith states that more work is needed, but conceded that since vitamin supplementation is a relatively safe form of treatment, they could be offered to high risk elderly patients as a precaution. Smith was recently quoted saying, \"I think we need to bite the bullet and say, is there any reason that elderly people with memory problems shouldn’t be offered them in the meantime?\"
Editor’s Comments: I agree. I can‚t see any significant downside to starting elderly patients on a B vitamin regimen. In a recent interview, author (Smith) stated he is already receiving feedback from physicians who have been supplementing their elderly patients since the 2010 study.
Editor: Mark R Payne DC
Link to Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23690582