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Vitamins May Slow Down Alzheimer's

They reduce levels of homocysteine in those with disease

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- High doses of vitamins may help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

That's the finding of a pilot study in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center's Memory Disorders Program found high-dose vitamins reduce levels of the amino acid homocysteine in people with Alzheimer's. Previous research has found a link between homocysteine and the mind-robbing disease.

The Georgetown University researchers are now leading a 40-center therapeutic trial to determine whether three common vitamins -- folic acid, B12 and B6 -- can decelerate Alzheimer's.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, has started recruiting 400 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. They'll be randomly assigned to receive either vitamins or placebos.

Their cognitive function -- memory, thinking and language -- will be assessed over the course of 18 months to determine the progress of their disease.

Anyone in the Washington, D.C., area interested in enrolling a family member with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease in the trial at Georgetown University can contact the Memory Disorders Program at 202-784-6671.

Here's where you can find a list of other study sites for the clinical trial.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCE: Georgetown University Medical Center, news release, March 2003
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