Researchers out of France and Monaco recently finished one of the longest and largest studies on Alzheimer’s disease. The study focused on using multidomain lifestyle intervention with Omega 3 supplementation for Alzheimer’s patients. The results, unfortunately, were insignificant, but do provide swaths of new data and show potential for new treatment approaches that are less expensive, easier to implement, and safer.
Treatments for Alzheimer’s vary as much as the individuals who themselves have the disease. Trials to test new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are usually quite limited in size and scope. Also, they often test just a single drug or intervention. There have been a few large trials performed in Europe in the recent past. These trials were multidomain intervention lifestyle studies that combine physical activity, cognitive training and nutrition advice. According to the European trials, multidomain intervention has positive results on cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer’s. Across the pond, American studies mostly focus on pharmacological treatment, especially anti-amyloid agents. Until recently, there had been no studies delving into the potential synergistic effects of using a multidomain intervention with Omega 3 supplementation to treat Alzheimer’s.
In a large trial (1680 participants) performed in France and Monaco, researchers investigated the efficacy of multidomain intervention with Omega 3 unsaturated fatty acid supplementation. This is the first study to test a specific compound with a multidomain lifestyle intervention against placebo control groups in a large sample and over a long term. Further, it was the longest and largest randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of Omega 3 against cognitive decline in the elderly. The participants in the study were all non-demented and 70 years of age or older. They either had reported a spontaneous memory complaint to their physician, had limitations in a vital daily activity or a slow gait. The participants were randomly assigned to four groups: multidomain intervention with Omega 3 supplementation; multidomain intervention with placebo; Omega 3 supplementation alone; and placebo alone. Participants and study staff were blinded to the placebo, but not the multidomain intervention. The study took place from May 30, 2008 to February 24, 2011.
The results of the study were, unfortunately, statistically insignificant, though this study was not without its benefits. Large amounts of new data regarding multidomain intervention and pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s are now available. The data garnered, combined with data from previous studies, may lead to new approaches for prevention of cognitive decline in individuals with Alzheimer’s, which are more affordable, easily implemented and safer than current anti-amyloid treatments.
Written By: Brian Jones