Alpha Tocopherol Seems Beneficial in Alzheimer's

Alpha Tocopherol Seems Beneficial in Alzheimer's
Alpha Tocopherol Seems Beneficial in Alzheimer's

(HealthDay News) – For patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, alpha tocopherol is associated with slower functional decline vs. placebo, according to a study published in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Maurice W. Dysken, MD, from the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial involving 613 patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. Participants were randomized to receive 2,000 IU/day of alpha tocopherol (152 participants), 20mg/day of memantine (155 participants), the combination (154 participants), or placebo (152 participants).

Over a mean follow-up of 2.27 years, the researchers found that decline, as measured by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living Inventory score, was significantly slower for those receiving alpha tocopherol vs. placebo. The change was reflected as a 19% delay in clinical progression per year, compared with placebo. The least increase in caregiver time was seen in the alpha tocopherol group. Greater frequencies of serious adverse events of "infections or infestations" were seen in the memantine and combination groups vs. the placebo group.

"These findings suggest benefit of alpha tocopherol in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease by slowing functional decline and decreasing caregiver burden," the authors write.

The memantine and matching placebo tablets were provided by Forest Research Institute; DSM Nutritional Products donated the DL-alpha-tocopheryl acetate oil and provided funding for the purchase of the soybean oil from Arista Industries.

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