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Scott & White Alzheimer’s Dementia Director Clears Up Misconceptions About B-12 Study

In the United States, 5.3 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and a new individual is diagnosed with the disease every 70 seconds, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dementia-related diseases have become a growing problem for people in the U.S. and it’s estimated that by the year 2050, someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

Because this problem is so great, news regarding a cure or methods that can lessen the effects of the disease can give hope to those suffering from dementia.

However, sometimes the facts don’t always come through the media  correctly.

It was reported that the results of a new study published in Neurology, claimed that a diet rich in vitamin B-12 or taking B-12 supplements could help stop and maybe even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s.

“The thought of the study was that if you prescreen people for B-12 [deficiencies], than you could prevent the advancement of dementia,” said Scott & White Alzheimer’s Dementia Director Arden Aylor, M.D. “But giving [preventative medicine] for a very rare form of dementia doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

The number of patients with B-12-induced dementia is only a fraction of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients and raising depleted vitamin levels only improves the state of the person’s health, it does not reverse dementia or stop the inevitable mental deterioration.

“The problem with a lot of this data is that they’re taking a very small sub population and applying it to everyone and it doesn’t really work like that,” he said.  “The study actually explains this, but when the study was interpreted and put out into general information, it took a specific and made it a generality.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses, there is no magic diet or herb, the doctor said.

“Patients that do well are those that live an independent lifestyle and have a social life,” he said. “The people that are sort of the couch potato-type, that don’t have a lot of social interaction, generally don’t do as well.”

Even though ingesting high doses of vitamin B-12 isn’t the cure, it is still a good idea to get your levels checked during your annual physical.

“If your levels are low than we can fix it,” the doctor said. “If not, then we’ll see you next year.”

About the author

Jessa McClure
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Jessa McClure holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, where she is currently an adviser for student publications. She has been a writer in the health care field since 2009.

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Scott & White Alzheimer’s Dementia Director Clears Up Misconceptions About B-12 Study