Because all participants were at risk for worsening of their AMD, they were also offered the original or a modified version of the AREDS formulation (without omega-3 or lutein/zeaxanthin).

Patients were given cognitive function tests at baseline, then at two and four years later. The tests included eight parts designed to test immediate and delayed recall, attention and memory, and processing speed. The cognition scores of each subgroup decreased to a similar extent over time, indicating that no combination of nutritional supplements made a difference.

“The AREDS2 data add to our efforts to understand the relationship between dietary components and Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline,” said Lenore Launer, PhD, senior investigator in the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science at the National Institute on Aging. “It may be, for example, that the timing of nutrients, or consuming them in a certain dietary pattern, has an impact. More research would be needed to see if dietary patterns or taking the supplements earlier in the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s would make a difference.”

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