Alzheimer's study may bring hope to patients

Published: Jan. 2, 2014 at 9:16 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2014 at 10:12 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC - The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is participating in a groundbreaking study on Alzheimer's patients and how an inexpensive vitamin can impact them. The results are promising for those suffering with the disease.

The study finds that vitamin E can slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease by up to two years.

Charleston's VA Medical Center was one of only ten in the country picked for this exclusive study. Overall, over 600 veterans participated in the four-year study to see how the vitamin impacted their symptoms.

Dr. Jacobo Mintzer, of the VA Medical Center, says that an antioxidant in vitamin E is able to slow the progression of oxidation in the brain, he compares oxidation to how a car can rust. With high doses of vitamin E, doctors found they were able to slow that process.

Mintzer says they saw big improvements in their patients' ability to function on their own and very little side effects.

This news could be life changing for the 50,000 Alzheimer's patients in South Carolina

"We can affect those subjects that already have the disease and we can help them to preserve their ability to be independent, which in other words means to preserve their dignity for a longer period of time," said Mintzer.

Mintzer says this is not only a relief for Alzheimer's patients, but their caretakers as well.

Mintzer says working with veterans was the perfect fit for this study.

"Even with a terrible disease they answered the call to duty, and served their country one more time," said Mintzer.

If you think vitamin E may help your condition, talk to your doctor.

If you're interested in participating in the study, doctors are looking for more people. You can contact the VA Medical Center.

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