Oxford study- Vitamin B slows brain shrinkage, delays Alzheimer’s


Globally16% of people over 70 years of age suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The condition is characterized by memory loss, language problems and other issues in mental health which is severe enough to catch attention of other people and shows up on tests, but not serious enough to interfere with daily life. A latest breakthrough study conducted by Oxford University unveils that Vitamin B supplement that cost only 10 pence in UK can slashe shrinkage of brain linked to memory loss by up to 500%.

Brain shrinkage or atrophy is a natural part of ageing, but it is known to be accelerate in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment. It is a physical symptom associated memory loss and dementia in the elderly. The brain shrinks by as much as half a per cent a year when we get older, however in Alzheimer’s disease, it shrinks by 2.5% a year.

About The study
The research is based on a two-year double blind, controlled trial known as VITACOG.  Researcher David Smith and colleagues recruited168 volunteers over 70 years of age suffering with mild cognitive impairment. Half of the volunteers were randomized to receive either placebo or a vitamin pill called TrioBe PPLus containing 300 times the recommended daily dose of B12 (Cyanocobalamin), four times daily recommended amount of folic acid (B9) and 15 times the recommended dose of B6 (Pyridoxine) for two years.

This is the...

largest study till date to evaluate the effect of B vitamins on mild cognitive impairment.

Findings of the study
The analysis, conducted by cranial MRI scans at the start and finish of the study to measure the change in rate of atrophy of the whole brain.  The mean rate of brain atrophy per year was 0.76%  in the B vitamin group and 1.08% in the placebo group,

The researchers concluded the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in older adults with MCI can be slowed by intervention with B vitamins.

The research, published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

It is known that Vitamin B breakdowns homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood. Earlier studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood (plasma) is related to higher levels of brain shrinkage in elderly. Therefore, Vitamin B if given in large doses might delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a threatening condition for elderly. According to the researchers about 1 in 6 people over age 70 has trouble with memory, language or other mental functions. Some of the pharmaceutical drugs available on prescription have shown role in preventing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The latest study is certainly a breakthrough that will give patients a cheap option to prevent the progression of disease.

Source: telegraph.co.uk


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