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Do Vitamins E and C Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease?

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By News Release • • May 9, 2000

According to a new study in the March 28 issue of Neurology, a journal published by the American Academy of Neurology, vitamins E and C may protect against age-related mental decline and some types of dementia.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu studied 3,385 Japanese-American men, ages 71 to 93, who were interviewed in 1982 and then again in 1988. Forty-seven of these men were diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, 35 with vascular dementia, 50 with other types of dementia, 254 had low mental-test scores but were not diagnosed with dementia, and 2,999 men showed no problems with mental capabilities.

Men taking vitamins E and C supplements at least once a week in 1988 were 88 percent less likely to have vascular dementia, and 69 percent less likely to have other forms of dementia. These same men also were 20 percent more likely to have better cognitive function than men not taking vitamins E and C. The men taking supplements when questioned in both 1982 and 1988 had a 75 greater chance of better mental performance than men not taking supplements during those periods.

Other studies have found that vitamins containing potent antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, protect against the onset of Alzheimer's, but the Hawaiian researchers did not find evidence of this in their study. Instead they stated that the supplements may also play a role in providing protection against brain cell and membrane injury involved in many age-related diseases, resulting in significantly higher scores on mental performance tests later in life.

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