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Dementia, Alzheimers prevention?

11/12/2013

Have you been reading about dementia and Alzheimer’s today in the news?
The UK government gave £20 million this year for research to tackle the dementia epidemic, yet none of it has been spent on prevention. Since 2006 the UK research councils have spent £140 million onresearch, but only 0.1% (£156,000) has been spent on prevention.  Over $40billion has been spent globally on developing drugs, all of which have failed.

 

The expert group is calling on governments to urgently support more research into prevention and adopt public health policies that come out of this research. An example of this is the research of Professor David Smith from Oxford University, whose research has shown an eight-fold reduction in the rate of brain shrinkage and virtual cessation of memory loss by giving B vitamins to those with cognitive impairment and raised blood homocysteine3. (Homocysteine is a marker for needing more B vitamins, including B12. Half of all people in Britain over 60 have a raised homocysteine level.)

So what depletes us of B Vitamins? STRESS!! that’s all stress, emotional, physiological, and psychological. Illnesses will create stress on the body, contraceptive pills, HRT may all add an element of depletion too. Magnesium deficient diets lead to poor conversion of vitamin B6 to its active form too.  Stress depletes us of magnesium too.   There’s more pieces to the puzzle of course, but if we know this much lets act now.

References:
De Jager, C. et al., ‘Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine lowering B vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial’, Int J Geriatr Psychiatry (2011)

Douaud, G., et al. (2013) Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B vitamin treatment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 4;110(23):9523-8

Smith, A.D. et al., ‘Homocysteine-lowering by B vitamins slows the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial’, Public Library of Science ONE, 5(9) (2010)

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