Souvenaid and Alzheimer’s Disease

Souvenaid, in its second clinical trial, has been proven to help the memory of people who suffer from mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Results of the trial were given at the 4th International Conference on Clinical Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) by Philip Scheltens, MD, PhD in San Diego in early November. Scheltens is head of the Alzheimer Center at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

Souvenaid has a unique mixture of nutrients that work by stimulating the connections between nerves, also known as synapses. Losing these connections is what many experts think is responsible for losing memory in Alzheimer’s patients.  Studies demonstrate that the nutrients in Souvenaid can help grow new synapses in the brain. People taking Souvenaid daily over three months had improved scores on memory tests.

Scheltens is cautiously optimistic about the new findings. More research needs to be done before any conclusions can be drawn, but he thinks it is a step in the right direction.

Souvenir II was completed at  27 centers in six countries in Europe to see if the effects from Souvenir I would last for eight weeks. This study used additional measures to test for recall and also measured brain activity. Of 259 subjects, over 91% finished the study.

Memory was tested at the beginning, at 12 weeks, and at 24 weeks. The composite score was gotten from the Rey Audtiory Verbal Test which tests instant recall, delayed memory, and recognition. The Wechlser Scale which tested verbal association was also used.

Over the 24 weeks, the total scores from the Souvenaid group were much higher than those from the control group. Besides just looking at memory scores, they are attempting to analyze the electroencephalogram and magnetoencephalogram data, which may help figure out the influence  Souveniad has on synapse building in patients with Alzehimer’s disease and dementia.

CTAD is sponsored by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the European Alzheimer’s Disease Consortium (EADC).

As a person advances in age, the brain can lose up to 10% of its original weight. The brain compensates for the loss of the cells through redundancy and plasticity mechanisms. Sylvie Belleville, Ph.D., Research Director of the Institut universitaire de geriatrie de Montreal, has discovered that elderly individuals who have a high risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may find hope in the brain’s plasticity mechanism.

Brain plasticity, according to Belleville, is the brain’s ability to modify itself and reorganize in order to adapt. The traditional view is that the brain’s plasticity declines with age, but a study headed by Belleville and published online through Brain: A Journal of Neurology shows that this is not true at all, even at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new findings are promising in the field of Alzheimer’s treatment and have the potential of encouraging new research into methods, therapies, treatments and medications that can improve the brain’s plasticity, thereby reducing the number and severity of Alzheimer’s disease in patients.

The study also shows that, at least hypothetically, cells known to promote the function of certain brain processes can take over using programs designed to train and enhance memories. For Belleville, the study simply validated that hypothesis. In the study, it was noted that subjects with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) who underwent memory tests after training had increased their correct answers by 33%. MCI is known to significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing dementia.

The program used a variety of strategies to train the subjects, such as encoding, retrieval and mnemonics. There were 30 participants in the study – half of them with MCI. The other group comprised of healthy adults. Using MRI, the subjects’ brain activities were monitored and analyzed at different times during the study – six weeks before training, one week before training and one week post-training. A comparison of brain activity using MRI showed activation in the brain areas that were known to work when used in memory exercises. Activation decreased in participants with MCI as expected but after training, brain activity increased not just in the memory areas but also in those associated with spatial, skill and object memory and language processing. This shows promise in future Alzheimer’s treatment and research.

Source: UdeMNouvelles

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