The slow demise of a beloved family member or friend is always a painful process to watch, and any report of medical breakthroughs in slowing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is certainly well received by the public. Each new release of the medical profession’s progress to halt or potentially cure the disease creates a great deal of interest by the media and can be hailed as a success story, but this is not always the whole story and reports can lead to conflicting information.
The new report that Vitamin E can help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease enough to relieve some of the responsibilities of care takers to patients is certainly of interest. The report was published in the online review Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) however, a membership to the service is required to read the to read the full report.
In the JAMA report, simple tasks such as washing or dressing remained a self-controlled task in patients’ daily rituals over a longer term when these sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease took elevated doses of vitamin E. Subjects of the study received one treatment of medication out of four options during the course of two years. Two of the options included the vitamin E. Those who took extra vitamin E as part of the treatment had the most encouraging results.
Whether taking such a continual dose of vitamin E is advisable for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is not yet known for certain. Allowing a high quantity of vitamin E supplements into a diet may lead to harmful side effects such as bleeding, notably bleeding in the brain, and high doses of vitamin E has been reported as potentially causing of some forms of cancer such as prostate cancer.
The widespread belief that the taking of “natural” vitamin supplements can assist in generating health benefits either as a preventive measure or as a form of treatment is up to some contention. Recent reports reveal that taking a wide variety vitamin supplements on a daily basis may not offer any health benefits and may be the cause of health deterioration.
Whether or not one believes that vitamin supplements can boost the immune system, most physicians, as well as a source at an Alzheimer’s charity, recommend that a healthy individual eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits, grains and vegetables and get enough exercise. Likewise, mental stimulation is also an important part of an overall quality of health. A study reported that people who kept their brain active into old age had a cognitive decline estimated at 15 percent lower than those who did not engage in reading and puzzle solving. The conclusion of the findings was that what a person does during the course of the lifetime when it came to mental stimulation can affect the rate of the onset of dementia.
It is also important to note that while dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, they are not the same thing. Dementia can be caused by several different factors related to aging or illness, but Alzheimer’s is a disease unto itself, and dementia often appears as an indicator.
For patients under medical supervision, a vitamin supplement may be prescribed as part of their treatment, otherwise it is always a better idea to consult with a doctor first before deciding on or when planning to take a vitamin supplement.
By Persephone Abbott