Daily nutritional drink could reduce cognitive decline in very early Alzheimer’s disease- Alzheimer's Society comment

The full results from the European LipiDiDiet clinical trial has been published online in The Lancet Neurology today.

The trial tested whether a daily medical nutritional drink called Souvenaid had any effect on cognitive decline in people in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The clinical trial involved 311 people with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease, determined by an MRI brain scan or a lumbar puncture test.

The active ingredient in the drink is ‘Fortasyn Connect’, a specific combination of essential fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, choline, uridine monophosphate, phospholipids, antioxidants and B vitamins.

The LipiDiDiet trial’s key findings are:

  • Daily consumption of the active drink did not improve memory and cognition as measured by a specific neuropsychological test battery (NTB)
  • Those consuming the active drink showed less decline in cognitive and functional performance over two years (measured by a clinical rating scale CDR-SB)
  • There was a reduction in shrinking of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory, in those consuming the active drink.
  • The drink had no effect on the number of people who progressed from mild cognitive impairment to dementia during the study

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'This study hints that a medical drink could slow the decline of thinking skills in people experiencing mild memory problems, who also have early signs of Alzheimer’s disease on a brain scan or a lumbar puncture test. This group of people don’t benefit from Alzheimer’s drugs, so this drink is one option to consider alongside regular exercise, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep their memory sharp.'

'This trial of Souvenaid did not meet the success criteria that would be needed for developing new drugs so we cannot be confident of the drink’s benefits. Although there was less cognitive decline in people taking the daily drink over two years, the same number of people still went on to develop dementia as those who had a fake drink every day. We certainly can’t conclude that the drink slows progression of Alzheimer’s disease.'

'People who are worried about their memory should not rush out and buy this drink without first talking to their doctor to find out if it could be suitable for them. There are many causes of memory decline, including normal ageing, so it’s important people are investigated for underlying Alzheimer's disease before taking this medical drink, or any kind of treatment.'