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Avocado elerly-manA recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on the benefits of vitamin E supplementation in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers sought to determine if vitamin E, memantine (an ACE inhibitor), or both would slow progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial involved 613 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer (AD). Participants were randomized to receive 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin E, or 20 milligrams of memantine, or a combination of both, or a placebo daily. The average follow-up was 2.3 years.

Patients were analyzed on their capability to perform daily living activities, memory and language, cognitive function, behavioral and psychological issues, and the time needing caregiver assistance. The data was measured and collected at the beginning of the study and every six months during the trial. Over the years of follow-up, scores declined by 3.15 units less in the Vitamin E group compared with the placebo group. In the memantine group, the scores declined 1.98 units less than the decline in the placebo group. Compared to the placebo group, those taking Vitamin E had an average delay in clinical progression of 19% per year, or approximately 6.2 months over the follow-up period.

Patients receiving the vitamin also needed less caregiver assistance in comparison with the placebo group. There was no significant difference in all-cause mortality or safety issues reported between the placebo and Vitamin E groups.

This study showed that high dose Vitamin E (2000 IU) appears to slow functional decline and decrease caregiver burden in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Source:
Maurice W. Dysken, MD et al. JAMA 2014; 311(1):33-44.

elerly-womanThere are numerous studies reporting the health benefits of increased fish consumption and higher intakes of the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The National Heart Foundation of Australia recommends that, to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, all adult Australians should consume 500 mg/day of combined EPA and DHA through 2–3 serves (150g serve) of oily fish per week and fish oil supplementation. For older adults, the risk of cardiovascular disease is higher; therefore, dietary strategies including increased intake of fish and omega-3 PUFA to reduce risk are necessary.

In the latest cross-sectional survey, 854 Australians (>= 51 yrs of age) were randomly selected to complete either an online survey or telephone interview. The survey included the quantitative fish frequency questionnaire and open- and closed-ended survey questions on demographics and supplement usage.

The survey found that on average:
•             The frequency of finfish/seafood consumption was 1.7 times per week (median intake 173 g);
•             13% never consumed finfish/seafood, or consumed less than once per month;
•             34% ate any type of finfish/seafood more than two times per week;
•             Only 28% consumed just 500 mg long-chain omega-3 PUFA per day from finfish/seafood alone;
•             The mean daily intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFA was 508 mg;

These data indicate that trends in fish intake in Australia are increasing. Although this is encouraging, the current survey still found that only 44% consumed finfish/seafood at least twice per week.  Among older Australians, the current fish consumption is low and many do not meet the current recommendations. Strategies to enhance intake to meet dietary recommendations in this older age group are required.

Source: Grieger, J A et al. Nutrition & Dietetics 2013; 70: 227–235

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