A new study came out recently on individuals with Down syndrome who had dementia. The study was looking at antioxidant supplementation to combat dementia. I will paste the study here and comment below it.
Am J Med Genet A. 2011 Aug.
Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine (UCI), Orange, California; Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine (UCI), Irvine, California. email@example.com.
Individuals with Down syndrome over age 40 years are at risk for developing dementia of the Alzheimer type and have evidence for chronic oxidative stress. There is a paucity of treatment trials for dementia in Down syndrome in comparison to Alzheimer disease in the general (non-Down syndrome) population. This 2-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial assessed whether daily oral antioxidant supplementation (900 IU of alpha-tocopherol, 200 mg of ascorbic acid and 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid) was effective, safe and tolerable for 53 individuals with Down syndrome and dementia. The outcome measures comprised a battery of neuropsychological assessments administered at baseline and every 6 months. Compared to the placebo group, those individuals receiving the antioxidant supplement showed neither an improvement in cognitive functioning nor a stabilization of cognitive decline. Mean plasma levels of alpha-tocopherol increased ∼2-fold in the treatment group and were consistently higher than the placebo group over the treatment period. Pill counts indicated good compliance with the regimen. No serious adverse events attributed to the treatment were noted. We conclude that antioxidant supplementation is safe, though ineffective as a treatment for dementia in individuals with Down syndrome and Alzheimer type dementia. Our findings are similar to studies of antioxidant supplementation in Alzheimer disease in the general population. The feasibility of carrying out a clinical trial for dementia in Down syndrome is demonstrated. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
So, this study used 900IU of Vitamin E, 200mg of Vitamin C and 600mg of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA).
First of all, those doses are pretty low, particularly for people who already have dementia. It's very, very late to start treatment, although it could still help.
While this study didn't find any changes in the dementia of these patients, they did find an increase in Vitamin E levels by 2-fold in the treatment group. That, in and of itself, is going to help greatly.
Knowing what we do know about Vitamin E and it's antioxidant effects, if the treatment is started early enough (in childhood), it's very likely to be able to prevent dementia.
I find it quite silly for the conclusion of the study to say that "antioxidant supplementation is safe, though ineffective as a treatment for dementia in individuals with Down syndrome." Well, when you already have people with DS who have dementia, don't ya think it's kind of late in the game to treat it? It's already caused SO much irreversible damage. The "treatment for dementia" should be started a whole lot earlier than that. Early as in the childhood years.
From what I know through other research and in talking with other doctors, especially Dr. Leichtman, antioxidant supplementation, if started early enough can and does prevent dementia.
In reality, it's never too late to start antioxidant supplementation, but the earlier you start it, the better. The less damage that will be done. Damage that can be irreversible.
Dr. Leichtman, has been working with people with Down syndrome of all ages for many, many years now. He has specifically been working with them with nutritional (antioxidant) supplementation. One of his comments in regards to this study is below. It is encouraging for those who have young children who are just starting Nutrivene or an antioxidant program, because it really does work.
In an ideal world where we can get everyone with DS supplemented young, the younger the better. I can document it holds off degeneration for a long time. I still see people who were placed on the old Turkel protocol 30-40 years ago and are now on NVD protocol and none of them have dementia so I know this works.
That's why I encourage any new family to start your child on at least Nutrivene as early as you possibly can. Oxidative stress starts to take hold while the baby is in utero and it only increases from there, if nothing is done about it.