High doses of B vitamins can reduce shrinkage of the brain that is frequently a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease. In the best circumstances, the supplements reduced shrinkage by as much as 50%, and researchers hope that this may mean that the vitamins can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. A longer trial is now being planned to determine if that is the case. The results are all the more remarkable because of the widely publicized failures of many experimental Alzheimer’s treatments.
Dr. A. David Smith of the University of Oxford and his colleagues studied 168 volunteers with mild cognitive impairment, which is characterized by memory loss, language problems and other mental difficulties beyond those normally associated with aging.
The rationale for the study was simple: High levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood are thought to be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. B vitamins are known to reduce homocysteine levels.
Los Angeles Times September 9, 2010