Vitamin E Reduces Memory Loss in Older Adults

Vitamin E from dietary supplements may help reduce cognitive decline among older people, according to a new study conducted at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.

“This study is important because most of the previous research has focused on antioxidant nutrients as treatment therapy in persons who already have neurologic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. There is limited study on whether dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients can protect against the disease from ever occurring,” said Martha Clare Morris, ScD, principal author of the study and assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at the Medical Center

The study of more than 6,000 people aged 65 and older showed that a high intake of vitamin E from foods and/or dietary supplements was associated with reduced memory loss and other cognitive decline.

“We were interested in evaluating whether antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E and C, reduced cognitive decline associated with aging,” said Morris.

“While a number of studies have suggested that antioxidant nutrients offer protection against diseases related to aging, there are few studies that have specifically examined whether antioxidant nutrients protect against decline of cognitive function among aging Americans.”

The study, which began in 1993, measured change in the cognitive function of individuals in an entire residential community of older persons. Participants were surveyed about their usual diet including the use of vitamin supplements. Cognitive function was measured through a series of performance exams including the testing of recollection of details from a lengthy story, and the ability to associate pairs of symbols and numbers after studying the set groupings for a short period of time.

Morris and researchers at the Rush Institute for Health Aging and the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center are currently evaluating the effects of vitamin C and E intake on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the same population, and will have results later in the year. Morris presented her results last week at the World Alzheimer Congress 2000, in Washington, D.C.

Source: Rush-Presbyterian-St, Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago

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