Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences professor Emeritus Richard Wurtman has discovered a new nutrient mix that may potentially treat the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Funded by the European Union (EU), a new clinical trial was conducted on the nutrient mix known as Souvenaid, which helped slow down cognitive impairment in the early stages of the disease.
The mixture enhances the production of new synapses and restores connectivity between brain regions, thereby improving memory and other cognitive functions.
In early stages of Alzheimer’s, the hippocampus shrinks as tissue is destroyed.
Wurtman said: “I never would have guessed that something like that could happen. But if you suppress the loss of the hippocampus, it makes sense that you’d have better retention of cognitive function.”
The results show that the drink is capable of either slowing down or completely stopping the progression of very early Alzheimer’s into a full-blown disorder.
In the new clinical trial, patients with prodromal Alzheimer’s, which is the predementia stage of the disease with mild symptoms, were administered either Souvenaid or a placebo.
When compared to patients who drank the placebo, the ones who were given Souvenaid throughout the trial demonstrated less worsening signs in everyday cognitive and functional performance, in addition to significantly less atrophy of the hippocampus, which is caused early in Alzheimer’s patients due to brain tissue loss.
During the trial, patients given Souvenaid showed a substantial reduction in the loss of hippocampal volume, which plays an important role in memory.
However, rates of deterioration for the patients taking Souvenaid were approximately 26% lower than the control group.