Researchers from Oxford University studied the rate of brain shrinkage in 168 over-70s, who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. This clinical trial was the largest to date into the effect of B vitamins on “mild cognitive impairment” — a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The results were so impressive that the scientists behind the work believe it could revolutionize the treatment of the disease.
The study showed that on average the brain shrinkage in those who took the B vitamins was 0.76% a year compared to 1.08% for those who took the placebo. Over a two-year period, half were given a daily tablet containing high doses of the vitamins B folate (B9), B6 and B12. The rest received a placebo pill with no active ingredients.
The discovery involves homocysteine, a compound, which is secreted in the body and, at high levels, has been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s.
The researchers believe the vitamin treatment may delay or even prevent development of the disease.
Approximately 16% of individuals aged over 70 years are affected by mild cognitive impairment, the authors note.
Researchers said that the results are striking and dramatic. They also said that they hope that this simple and safe solution might the answer that they have been looking for to delay the development of Alzheimer’s in many who suffers memory loss.