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).

There’s been a lot of news about Alzheimer’s disease recently because of the annual meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (AAICAD) which met from July 10 to 15, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The AAICAD is the world’s largest conference of its kind. It brought together almost 4,000 researchers from around the world to report and discuss groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Alzheimer’s disease research continues to be under-funded, but this appears to be the most significant disease that the baby boomer generation will face. There were many interesting and significant items to come out of the conference, but I want to mention two of them because they immediately impact us. I mentioned in a previous post that participating in a clinical trial could prove to be very time-consuming, but if this is of interest to you, here is good news for you.

The Alzheimer’s Association announced the launch of Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatchTM, a confidential, free, and interactive tool that provides comprehensive clinical trial information and an individualized trial matching service for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Internet ( and phone-based (800-272-3900) program provides a first-of-its-kind service in Alzheimer’s by delivering individualized matches to clinical trials for people with Alzheimer’s, their healthcare professionals, caregivers, and healthy volunteers.

Second, we know that diet and exercise can play a role in either slowing down or reducing the risk of dementia. For example, adding turmeric to the diet (click here) might be beneficial.

Evidence from three long-term, large-scale studies (Framingham Study, Cardiovascular Health Study, NHANES III) supports the association of physical activity and certain dietary elements (tea, vitamin D) with possibly maintaining cognitive ability and reducing dementia risk in older adults. Plus, a new study in an animal model of Alzheimer’s reported today at AAICAD 2010 suggests that an antioxidant-rich diet with walnuts may benefit brain function. Research has pointed towards a number of factors that may impact our risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline, the strongest being reducing cardiovascular risk factors. The Alzheimer’s Association and others have repeatedly called for longer-term, larger-scale research studies to clarify the roles that these factors play in the health of the aging brain. These studies from AAICAD 2010 are some of the first reports of this type in Alzheimer’s, and that is encouraging, but it is not yet definitive evidence.

Next year the group will meet in Paris, France from July 16-21. We look forward to more exciting news to come out of the meetings. For more research findings, click here.

ICAD 2011