Vitamin E supplements may help prevent Alzheimer's disease in certain patients according to a presentation given at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.
Research scientists at the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, studied 127 women aged 60 and older enrolled in a pilot study sponsored by the Women's Health Initiative.
The researchers found that the use of vitamin E was associated with mean scores 3.6 points higher on one cognitive test and 0.8 points higher on another test, but only in women who did not have the e4 allele. Overall, subjects who used vitamin E were less likely to score below the age- and education-specific cutpoints on two or more tests compared with those who did not use vitamin E.
There is a good biological rationale for vitamin E being protective, since it is a fat-soluble antioxidant. However, the reason that vitamin E does not seem to help patients with the e4 allele is less clear.
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