Brain shrinkage halved by taking B vitamins, Alzheimer's researchers say

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In a possible breakthrough in the treatment of seniors with memory problems, British researchers say they have discovered that very large daily doses of B vitamins can cut the rate of brain shrinkage in half. The findings could lead to treatment that would slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, they said.

"This is a very dramatic and striking result. It's much more than we could have predicted," said trial co-leader David Smith of Oxford University's department of pharmacology. "It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer's in many people who suffer from mild memory problems."

The two-year clinical trial is believed to be the largest to date studying the effects of B vitamins on individuals with “mild” cognitive impairment. Researchers said about half of those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer's within five years. B6 and B12 vitamins have been found to control levels of an amino acid in the blood that has links to higher risks of developing Alzheimer's, experts explained.