Daily nutritional drink can help memory symptoms in people with very early Alzheimer's disease

Published 10 March 2016

An over-the-counter drink containing the active ingredient Fortasyn Connect has been shown to improve memory in those with mild cognitive impairment due to the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

The final results of the EU-funded LipiDiDiet clinical trial are presented for the first time today (10 March 2016) at the Advances in Alzheimer's Therapy congress in Athens.

The clinical trial involved over 300 people with 'prodromal' Alzheimer's disease – people with memory problems that are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia. Half were given a daily drink containing Fortasyn Connect, a combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients, for two years and the other half were given a control drink with equal calorie content but without the nutrients.

After two years there was no difference in cognitive performance between the groups making the overall trial results negative. When the participants were tested with a more sensitive test to look at episodic memory, those who took the supplement performed better than the control group. There was no evidence presented to show whether the drink has an effect on progression to full Alzheimer’s disease.

Trial participants had their brains scanned throughout the study. Those who took the supplement had reduced brain shrinkage in some areas including the hippocampus which is involved in memory. The drink is not available on prescription, but can be bought as nutritional supplement over the counter. 

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Society said:

'Today's results show that an over-the-counter nutritional supplement can bring memory improvements for people in the very early stages of the Alzheimer's disease, providing some relief to one of the most common symptoms. However, the study wasn’t considered an overall success as there were no wider improvements in cognition and there was no evidence that the drink can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. 

'People worried about their memory should visit their GP for advice. If early Alzheimer's disease is suspected, this supplement is one option for people to try, along with taking regular exercise, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep their memory sharp.'

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