Alzheimer's Disease Center
University of California, Davis
The Family Connection
The Vitamin E Connection
Recently researchers studied a group of 314 Alzheimer's disease patients to determine whether treatment with Eldepryl, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) or a combination of the two could help prolong life, delay institutionalization and sharp declines in memory.
The New England Journal of Medicine (April 24, 1997) reported that Alzheimer's patients receiving 2000 IU of Vitamin E or 10mg a day of segeline lived longer, stayed at home longer and had higher mental function that those on placebo.
"There is reason for caution about this study," said Dr. Mary Haan, UC Davis Center for Aging and Health Director. "Patients who were assigned to the non-treatment group started off with higher mental functioning. This suggests that the randomization process did not succeed in controlling for baseline differences between the treatment and placebo groups. Also, patients in the two Eldepryl treatment groups seemed to have more severe disease."
Vitamin E is considered an antioxident and has been inconsistently linked to the development of atherosclerosis. Vitamin E is an anticoagulant taken at high levels may interfere with anticoagulant therapy. Research into the effectiveness of antioxidents such as Vitamin E, or estrogen will no doubt continue. "The links between risk factors for cardiovascular disease and AD are suggestive but have not been well explored," says Dr. Haan. "This study provides more evidence of the need for research for those links."