In a discovery that is being heralded as one of the most important finds in the field of Alzheimer's research, scientists in the U.K. have found that omega-3 fatty acid and B vitamin supplements dramatically slowed brain shrinkage associated with the disease.
"This is a very exciting and important result," Prof. David Smith of Oxford University told the Daily Express. "It is the first treatment to show Alzheimer's related brain shrinkage can be prevented. It means that something so simple as keeping your omega-3 levels high and supplementing B vitamins if you are at risk could dramatically reduce a person's risk."
The researchers recruited 168 participants who showed early signs of dementia to take part in the study. They followed them over the course of two years, giving half placebos and half a combination of omega-3 and B vitamin supplements, including B6, B12 and folic acid. They found that brain shrinkage came to a "virtual halt" in the patients given the supplements, while those who received the placebos showed no reduction in the progression of dementia symptoms.
Prof. Smith is so convinced that this treatment is effective in preventing dementia and Alzheimer's that he is scheduled to meet with the British National Health Service (NHS) later this month to advocate changing official NHS practice to offer B vitamin and omega-3 supplements to people with early memory loss.
"When people come to a memory clinic there's nothing now that can help those showing signs of memory loss. Supplementation should be adopted across the NHS," he said.
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