Alzheimer’s alternative:


Brain shrinkage or atrophy is a natural
part of ageing but it is known to be
accelerated in people with Mild
Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – a kind of
memory loss and forgetfulness – and

Researcher David Smith and
colleagues gave 168 volunteers with
mild cognitive impairment or  MCI a
vitamin pill called "TrioBe PPLus"
containing 300 times the
recommended daily dose of B12, four
times daily recommended amount of
folate and 15 times the recommended
dose of B6 for two years.

The study published in the Public
Library of Science (PLoS) One journal
showed that on average the brain
shrinkage in those who took the B-
vitamins was 0.76 percent a year
compared to 1.08 percent for those
who took the placebo.

The researchers did not test
participants' cognitive ability, but there
was an association between brain
shrinkage and reduced scores in
mental tests.

They said the results were so strong
that it should open up a debate as to
whether the tablets should be
prescribed to everyone with MCI – half
of whom develop Alzheimer's disease.

Current research centres around
tackling so-called tangles in the brain
which are thought to "silt up" the
brain's thought processes.

The team at the University of Oxford
set out in a new direction – targeting
the abnormal physical shrinkage of the

They knew that a substance called
homocysteine, an amino acid found in
the blood, was associated with this

Elderly people with higher levels of
homocysteine, had higher levels of
brain shrinkage.

They also knew that vitamin B
regulated levels of homocysteine and
that the more vitamin B in the blood,
the lower the levels of the harmful
amino acid.

The researchers used an advanced
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
technique to study brain shrinkage in
168 volunteers over the age of 70 with
diagnosed MCI.

At the end of the trial the effects of the
vitamin treatment were found to be
dramatic, and most pronounced in
participants who started out with the
highest rates of brain shrinkage.

It should be noted that the current
study used mega-dosages of B
vitamins, meaning that they should be
considered drugs but not dietary
supplements. High doses of B vitamins
can be risky.

two or three times a week could help
prevent the onset of Alzheimer's  and
other forms of dementia. The magic
ingredient is curcumin, a component of
the spice turmeric. Curcumin  prevents
the spread of harmful amyloid plaques
found in the brain of Alzheimer's