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Thread: No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

  1. No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

    No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults
    Apr. 15, 2013

    A review of published research has found no evidence that drugs, herbal products or vitamin supplements help prevent cognitive decline in healthy older adults.


    The review, conducted at St. Michael's Hospital, found some evidence that mental exercises, such as computerized memory training programs, might help.

    "This review provides some evidence to help clinicians and their patients address what strategies might prevent cognitive decline," said Dr. Raza Naqvi, a University of Toronto resident and lead author of the review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    The issue is of particular importance given that mild cognitive impairment affects 10 to 25 per cent of people over age 70. Mild cognitive impairment is characterized by reduced memory, judgment, and decision-making skills compared to someone of a similar age, but not enough to interfere with daily activities.

    The annual rate of decline into dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, is about 10 per cent. Given that rate and the aging population, it's estimated the number of Canadians with dementia will double to more than 1 million in the next 25 years.

    They found no strong evidence for pharmacologic treatments such as cholinesterase inhibitors that were developed to improve the effectiveness of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that assists memory, thought and judgment.

    Nor was there strong evidence that herbal supplements such as gingko improved cognitive functions or vitamins and fatty acids such as vitamin B6 or omega-3 fatty acids.

    Some studies on estrogen actually indicated an increase in cognitive decline and dementia.

    Evidence on the value of physical exercise, such as strength-training, was weak.

    The strongest evidence was for the value of mental exercises such as computerized training programs or intensive one-on-one personal cognitive training in memory, reasoning, or speed of processing.

    Dr. Naqvi said future studies should address the impact of cognitive training on the prevention of cognitive decline.

    "We encourage researchers to consider easily accessible tools such as crossword puzzles and sudoko that have not been rigorously studied," he said. "The studies in this review that assessed cognitive exercises used exercises that were both labour- and resource-intensive, and thus may not be applicable to most of our patients."

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  3. #2

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    Re: No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

    Herbal products and vitamins seem to be a growing industry. I see lots of products in chemist shops and even the supermarkets. I advise people to be very careful about which products they mix as the wrong mix can produce very bad effects, even death. \

    I friend of mine went into hospital for an operation and ended up being sent home as she had started taking a supplement. I think it was some kind of garlic supplement from memory. She was told it acts like a blood thinner and could have been dangerous/

    You should always ask the advice of a pharmacist before taking anything which isn't prescribed by a doctor.

    Elda

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  5. Re: No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

    Yes, Elda...garlic capsules are blood thinners. I took some many years ago, but stopped just for that reason. Also had a kidney stone when I was younger, 40's...which was brought on obviously by my taking too large mgs. calcium, Vit C, etc. Stopped doing all that, as kidney stones are extremely painful. Just take a few prescriptions, now...plus some calcium, vits, fish oil. I'm not doing so badly at this point. Have outlived my older brother & my mother by MANY years. I celebrate my life!! Joan

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    Re: No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

    I remember my mother used to feed us a halibaorange tablet (vitamin C) and a yeast and iron tablet every day in the winter. Apart from that nothing at all.

    When I was diagnosed as a Diabetic I was involved in a 30 month research trial and at the end of that it was recommended I take a 75 mg asprin tablet or in North America 81mg. The trial was to see what effect aspirin had and the report was very positive and have been taking them ever since.

    Just recently my doctor recommend I take a vitamin D tablet 1000 units each day. She told me she takes 2000 units each day herself.

    Alastair

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    Re: No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

    Alastair, my old great, great aunt who lived with us when I was a child, worked in a pharmaceutical wholesalers. She used to bring home all sorts of things like that. Remember cod liver oil? My favourite was malt. We used to get a spoonful of that every day. I've no idea what the benefit of malt was but it tasted nice :-)

    Elda

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    Re: No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults

    Indeed it did taste nice Elda. I got a mild version of hooping cough and had to take it as a result.

    Alastair

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