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Unconventional ways to combat Alzheimer's

January 27, 2014

Although researchers have yet to find a definitive cure for Alzheimer's, there exists no shortage of trials, studies and research to prove they have not stopped trying. Some studies have tested the effectiveness of less-than-conventional methods in fighting the disease, including the following: 

Vitamin E
A study that was featured in The Journal of the American Medical Association explored Vitamin E and its effect on patients with Alzheimer's. Scientists discovered that the drug had the ability to reduce their difficulty in performing daily tasks, such as dressing themselves, taking medicine and eating. In addition, individuals reported needing two fewer hours of daily assistance from caregivers.  A high dose of the drug taken each day helped participants to better perform these tasks for up to six months. While researchers found that seniors' daily routines were easier, they noted the drug had no effect on improving cognitive ability, including memory or processing skills.

Mary Sano, study author and director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital, said they focused primarily on how people performed daily activities, as those were most likely to be affected by the disease. Participants were administered the equivalent of two over-the-counter Vitamin E supplements each day. Although researchers found that the drug positively aided seniors in performing, they stressed that too much of it would be harmful, though Sano said the amount given to participants was safe. Foods rich in Vitamin E include grapefruit, almonds, sunflower seeds, shrimp and avocado.

In a very small trial conducted by a group of British researchers published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, scientists found a link between daily flossing and the contraction of Alzheimer's. After studying brain samples from 20 individuals - 10 who died of Alzheimer's and 10 who died from non​-dementia-related causes - researchers found that four of the Alzheimer's patients had a specific type of gum disease while zero of the non​-dementia patients had it. According to lead researcher StJohn Crean, the study supports his hypothesis that bacteria can enter the mouth through chewing or tooth removal, then find its way to the brain, he explained to Bloomberg News. 

Crean stressed, however, that this study did not test the cause and effect of flossing and the disease, but merely illustrated a connection between the two. 

"We've shown an association, not causation. It does nothing more than to prove that these bacteria do get to the brain," he told Bloomberg News. 

To maintain a healthy lifestyle for seniors, individuals are encouraged to maintain daily oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing.