Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nutrient mixture improves memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s

In clinical trial, mixture developed at MIT appears to help overcome loss of connections between brain cells.

A clinical trial of an Alzheimer’s disease treatment developed at MIT has found that the nutrient cocktail can improve memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s. The results confirm and expand the findings of an earlier trial of the nutritional supplement, which is designed to promote new connections between brain cells.

Alzheimer’s patients gradually lose those connections, known as synapses, leading to memory loss and other cognitive impairments. The supplement mixture, known as Souvenaid, appears to stimulate growth of new synapses, says Richard Wurtman, a professor emeritus of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT who invented the nutrient mixture.

“You want to improve the numbers of synapses, not by slowing their degradation — though of course you’d love to do that too — but rather by increasing the formation of the synapses,” Wurtman says.

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