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Alzheimer's Disease

Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

09/08/2000

Question:

Is there a way to prevent this disease?

Answer:

Thank you for your question! Dr. Geldmacher has answered: No one really knows for sure how to prevent AD. In fact it may not be truly preventable at all. Both anti-inflammatory medicines and estrogen(in post-menopausal women) have been suggested to help prevent, delay,or reduce the risk of AD. BUT, it is unclear how much they help, or what doses work, or whether the risks of these medicines to other aspects of health offset the benefit of getting AD later. Vitamin E`s effect for delaying AD is under study now, but the answers aren`t in yet. In terms of slowing down AD, neither estrogen nor the anti-inflammatory drug prednisone showed any effects in recent well-conducted studies. Vitamin E was shown in one study to slow the rate of worsening in moderate AD by as much as 25%, but this has not been confirmed by other studies yet. The dose that was used was 2000 units per day. Another study showed that gingko biloba might have a very small effect on altering the progression of dementia, but this is controversial and remains unproved. No other herbal product has been studied well enough to know whether or not it actually works to improve memory, prevent AD, or slow it down. Be cautious of the marketing claims in this regard since herbals don`t need to prove _anything_ that they say in their advertising, yet the products can still have side effects and interfere with other medicines. We hope this has been of help to you. If you have any other questions or if this one wasn`t answered completely for you, please don`t hesitate to write again. Thank you!

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Response by:

Jon Stuckey, PhD
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University

David   Geldmacher, MD David Geldmacher, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University