Wednesday 26 July 2017

Over-the-counter 'Alzheimer's drink' stops brain shrinking

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Sarah Knapton London

A daily drink which manufacturers say can 'manage' Alzheimer's disease actually stops the brain from shrinking, a two-year trial has shown.

Souvenaid, which was created by south Dublin-based firm Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, contains a cocktail of vitamins and nutrients which have been shown to boost brain function.

It has been on sale for over two years, but had never been independently tested before to see if it actually worked.

Now a clinical trial, funded by the European Union and carried out by the University of Eastern Finland, has shown that it reduces brain shrinkage by 38pc over two years in people with Alzheimer's disease.

It was also shown to improve memory in people with mild cognitive impairment, which often precedes full-blown dementia, although it was found to have no overall cognitive benefit in people who had Alzheimer's.

Professor in Neurology at the University of Eastern Finland, Hilkka Soininen, who headed the clinical trial, said: "Today's results are extremely valuable as they bring us closer to understanding the impact of nutritional interventions on Alzheimer's disease which we are now better at diagnosing but unable to treat due to a lack of approved pharmaceutical options."

The drink contains omega 3 fatty acids, the nutrient found in oily fish, as well as high doses of Vitamin E, B, B13 and C.

Other ingredients include uridine, which is produced by the liver and kidneys and found in breast milk, and choline found in meat, nuts and eggs.

There are no effective drugs to combat dementia, and most experts believe treatments are at least five years away.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, cautioned that the findings were from a trial in people with very mild memory problems, not severe enough to be considered dementia.

"While the initial results seem to suggest those using the drink may have reduced brain shrinkage, the product didn't show an overall benefit on memory and thinking, which was the primary goal," she said. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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