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Antioxidants 'fail to boost memory'

Published on 23 March 2012 12:00 PM

Taking antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E on a daily basis does not improve the thinking and memory skills of people with Alzheimer's disease, new research has shown.

US scientists found that in some cases the memory skills of patients participating in the four-month study who were taking antioxidants actually declined faster than those who took placebo pills that contained no vitamins.      

Previous research had suggested that older adults who have a diet rich in antioxidants are less vulnerable to Alzheimer's. However, more rigorous studies, including some patients who had already been diagnosed with the condition, failed to establish a link between antioxidants and improved mental agility.

Dr Ronald Petersen, head of the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre in Rochester, Minnesota, said that numerous supplements are being taken by people on the basis of very little scientific justification.

However, he did admit that many researchers in the field still believe that antioxidants could have a role to play in the fight against Alzheimer's and ageing in general, but they are likely to offer little or no benefits once the disease has actually been diagnosed.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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