A new clinical trial with Alzheimer’s patients shows that probiotics may improve cognitive function in humans. Prior studies showing probiotics benefits for improvements in memory and learning as well as anxiety and depression reduction have been done with mice.
60 patients with Alzheimer’s disease participated in this double blind, controlled trial. Patients ranged in age from 60 to 95 years. The study lasted 12 weeks. Patients were randomly divided into 2 groups. The control group received milk and the other group received a 200 ml/day mixture of probiotic milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium biffidum and Lactobacillus fermentum. A small mental state exam (MMSE) score was recorded both before and after treatment for all participants. Additionally fasting blood samples were taken to determine related markers both before and after the study period.
Average scores on the MMSE questionnaires increased significantly from 8.7 to 10.6 (out of a maximum of 30) in the group receiving the probiotic and decreased in the control group from 8.7 to 8.0. The probiotic group also showed reduction in triglycerides and insulin resistance indicating that a “change in the metabolic adjustments might be a mechanism by which probiotics affect Alzheimer’s and possibly other neurological disorders” according to the study’s lead author.
Further studies are already planned.
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