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Vitamin E May Slow Effects of Alzheimer's in Men

January 3, 2014
ABC News Radio

Alzheimer's patients taking vitamin E may experience a delay in the degenerative progression of the disease, a new study finds.

Researchers at the Veterans Administration studied older men who had mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, putting some of them on high doses of vitamin E and giving others a placebo.

Over the course of the two-year study, those given vitamin E were able to care for themselves for a longer period of time, performing simple tasks such as taking a bath or dressing independently. The group had a six-month advantage in terms of the loss of function over those who took the placebo.

"While there was no improvement in memory or thinking, the ability to take care of one's self longer was seen as a really positive finding," said ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

Though the report found the vitamin can be helpful, it can have dangerous side effects in high doses,  particularly in people who have heart disease. Studies have not show any benefit on vitamin E in preventing Alzheimer's, Besser said.