Rush University Medical Center is leading a nationwide clinical trial of a nutritional drink to determine whether it can improve cognitive performance in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.
The study follows recently released results from an earlier trial conducted in Europe showing that the drink, called Souvenaid, improved verbal recall in people with mild disease who were followed for three months.
"Our primary goal is to see whether Souvenaid can slow the worsening of memory difficulties in persons with mild to moderate Alzheimer's who are already taking approved treatments for the disease, " said Dr. Raj Shah, medical director of the Rush Memory Clinic and one of the study's lead investigators.
Results of the first European study were released recently following publication in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia. In that study, 225 patients with mild Alzheimer's were divided into two groups. Some drank Souvenaid and the others sipped a non-medical drink every day for 12 weeks.
Researchers found that the patients who drank Souvenaid improved in a delayed verbal recall task.
A total of 500 individuals who are taking medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease will be enrolled in the present study at 40 sites across the U.S. In the double-blinded study, half of the participants will drink about four ounces of Souvenaid once a day for 24 weeks. The other half will drink a control product that is similar in flavor, appearance, and composition, but without the Souvenaid nutrients. Neither group will know whether they are drinking Souvenaid or the other beverage.
Researchers will test whether the participants' cognitive and functional performance — including memory, language, attention/concentration, executive functioning, information processing and recall — shows any greater improvement with Souvenaid than with medication alone.