ALZHEIMER'S; AFTER VITAMIN B IS HAILED AS DEMENTIA 'CURE'; the Truth about How to Fight Off
Byline: MELISSA THOMPSON firstname.lastname@example.org
CAN you really beat Alzheimer's with a vitamin pill?
That was the claim yesterday from Oxford University scientists who suggested a daily dose of vitamin B could stave off the devastating condition. It's hopeful news in Dementia Awareness Week for sufferers and families, but other everyday remedies have been touted as potential cures.
We've found 10 of the most promising answers and asked for an expert verdict from the Alzheimer's Society's Jessica Smith.
FOR more info, go to www.alzheimers.org.uk
Do a crossword
PUZZLES and other mental exercises were found to lead to lower build-up of brain plaques that can lead to Alzheimer's.
Researchers at the University of California compared brain scans of 65 healthy people with an average age of 76 with those from 10 Alzheimer's patients and 11 people with an average age of 25.
Those who did more mental agility exercises, especially when young, had lower levels of betaamyloid protein.
JESSICA SAYS: "There is little evidence that brain training has cognitive benefits.
"Alzheimer's Society research found people under the age of 60 did not improve their overall 'mental fitness'.
"Results for those over 60 are still being analysed."
Have a curry
DEMENTIA cases are much fewer in India than here and the spice turmeric may be the secret.
A study at Duke University in North Carolina found that in mice, high doses of curcumin - a turmeric derivative - dissolved amyloid plaques, thought to contribute to dementia by destroying the brain's wiring.
Several human studies are being done, including one at Southampton University, funded by the Alzheimer's Society.
JESSICA SAYS: "Eat the odd curry? I wish it was that easy.
"We don't see these ingredients in strong enough amounts to make any real difference. But if we can concentrate on the main ingredient and put it in drugs, or find a better way to deliver it to the brain, then it might work."
Eat oily fish
MACKEREL and other oily fish packed with Omega-3s could also keep the brain healthy.
Columbia University in New York studied 1,219 over-65s who were free of dementia.
It found levels of disease-causing beta-amyloid protein were lower in people with a diet high in Omega-3.
JESSICA SAYS: "This is a complicated one.
"When we talk about healthy diets to reduce risk of dementia, we have to look at quite a lot of people over a long period of time, so it's quite difficult to tease out specific parts of the diet that have contributed.
"We know that a Mediterranean diet is healthy, but it's hard to know which element of it is the most beneficial."
Play an instrument
PLAYING a musical instrument or speaking a second language often can improve cognitive skills, claimed a team at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
A study at Toronto's York University found that knowing a second language delayed the disease's diagnosis by 4.3 years on average, compared to monolinguists.
JESSICA SAYS: "This could be to do with 'cognitive reserve'. …