Vitamin E from Dietary Supplements May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline Among Older Persons

July 12, 2000



CHICAGO, July 11 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation –



A study of more than 6,000 persons ages 65 and older showed that a high intake of vitamin E from foods and/or dietary supplements was associated with reduced memory loss and other cognitive decline.



Martha Clare Morris, ScD, principal author of the study and assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, will present details of her study in Washington at the World Alzheimer’s Congress 2000 on Tuesday, July 11.



“We were interested in evaluating whether antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E and C, reduced cognitive decline associated with aging,” said Morris.



“While a number of studies have suggested that antioxidant nutrients offer protection against diseases related to aging, there are few studies that have specifically examined whether antioxidant nutrients protect against decline of cognitive function among aging Americans.”



The study, which began in 1993, measured change in the cognitive function of individuals in an entire residential community of older persons. The study, conducted over a three-year period, surveyed participants about their usual diet including their use of vitamin supplements. Participants’ cognitive function was measured through a series of performance exams including the testing of recollection of details from a lengthy story, and the ability to associate pairs of symbols and numbers after studying the set groupings for a short period of time.



“This study is important because most of the previous research has focused on antioxidant nutrients as treatment therapy in persons who already have neurologic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. There is limited study on whether dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients can protect against the disease from ever occurring,” said Morris.



Morris and researchers at the Rush Institute for Health Aging and the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center are currently evaluating the effects of vitamin C and E intake on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the same population, and will have results later in the year.



Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center includes the 809-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital; 154-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for the Elderly; Rush University (Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Graduate College); and seven Rush Institutes providing diagnosis, treatment and research into leading health problems. The medical center is the tertiary hub of the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive healthcare system capable of serving about two million people through its outpatient facilities and five member hospitals.