Monday June 17, 2019

This drink may help ward off Alzheimer’s: Scientist

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Alzheimer's disease. Wikipedia

New York, October 31’2017: Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a nutrient mix that has shown potential to slow down cognitive impairment in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The drink, called Souvenaid is aimed at treating “the root cause” of Alzheimer’s, which is the loss of brain synapses.

 Souvenaid contains omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon and mackeral along with high doses of Vitamin B13, B, C and E.

The mixture increases production of new synapses and restores connectivity between brain regions, improving memory and other cognitive functions, the researchers reported, in the MIT Technology Review.

In the new clinical trial, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, the team conducted a 24-month trial, where more than 300 patients with prodromal Alzheimer’s — the predementia stage of Alzheimer’s with mild symptoms — were randomly assigned Souvenaid or a placebo.

The patients taking Souvenaid showed about 45 per cent less cognitive decline than people taking the placebo.

Patients who drank Souvenaid showed less worsening in everyday cognitive and functional performance and improvement in verbal-memory performance.

“It feels like science-fiction, where you can take a drink of Souvenaid and you get more synapses…for improved cognitive function. But it works,” said Richard Wurtman, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

Importantly, Souvenaid led to a 26 per cent reduction in the loss of hippocampal volume, which is caused early in Alzheimer’s by brain tissue loss.

The results indicate that Souvenaid may be able to slow or stop full progression of very early Alzheimer’s into a full-blown disease, Wurtman noted.

The findings could encourage more researchers to view synapse restoration as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

“Everyone who writes about Alzheimer’s knows there’s a synapse deficiency, and this impairs connections between brain regions. Even if the amyloid or another problem gets solved, one way or another, you’ll have to replace these synapses,” Wurtman said.(IANS)

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Nigeria Spends More than $1 Billion Per Annum to Medical Tourism, Say Authorities

To provide access to high-quality care, authorities plan to build six new medical centers across the country, said Health Ministry official Nneka Orji

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To provide access to high-quality care, authorities plan to build six new medical centers across the country, said Health Ministry official Nneka Orji. Wikimedia

Nigerian authorities say the country is losing more than $1 billion annually to medical tourism as tens of thousands of Nigerians travel abroad in search of the best treatment. Nigeria’s Health Ministry says it is building several world-class health centers to address the issue, but not even the country’s president seems to trust health care in Nigeria.

Fifty-three-year-old Ibrahim Bello, a former Nigerian lawmaker from Kaduna state, lost both his parents to diabetes. He was afraid the disease might run in the family, so he went for a medical exam. Unhappy with the quality of care at home, Bello flew to India, like many of Nigeria’s well-to-do.

“Comparative analysis between Nigerian case and where I passed through in India, honestly, I cannot do it here because the margin is so wide that every Nigerian who has any health issue – his prayer is how can he be moved to India,” he said.

Bello is one of tens of thousands of Nigerians who each year opt to travel abroad for treatment. Health officials and some medical professionals argue that good care is available in the country – but at private clinics. Nadey Hakim, a transplant surgeon who has been practicing for more than three decades, is among those who argue in favor of domestic treatment.

“I don’t see why any Nigerian patient should go outside Nigeria to have a transplant when we can do it for them in Nigeria,” said Hakim. But for those who can’t afford private care, or medical tourism, there are few good options.

In April 2001, Nigeria and four other African Union countries met and pledged to target at least 15% of their annual budget for health care. Many years after, Nigeria remains far from reaching the goal and ranks at the bottom of global health surveys. To provide access to high-quality care, authorities plan to build six new medical centers across the country, said Health Ministry official Nneka Orji.

nigeria, medical tourism
Health officials and some medical professionals argue that good care is available in the country – but at private clinics. Wikimedia

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“These centers of excellence are supposed to deliver those cares, those interventions that people would naturally go outside to seek. Things like cancer treatment, brain tumors, brain surgeries, and fine surgery interventions,” Orji said. But even Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari — with access to the best health care in Nigeria — made several trips to Britain for medical care in his first term.

In April, he railed against Nigeria’s poor response to public health crises, outbreaks of deadly disease, and mass migration of doctors. But critics who disagree will be waiting to see what the president will do to change the status quo. (VOA)