Researchers found after a year of treatment with vitamin E and the drug donepezil, which is sold under the brand name Aricept, people with Alzheimer's disease performed much better on tests of cognitive ability than did people who hadn't taken either substance.
"There were notable cognitive differences even after three years of combined therapy," said David Beversdorf, the study's senior author.
Beversdorf studied Alzheimer's patients who took daily doses of both vitamin E and donepezil. The participants took a cognitive-abilities test each year during the three-year study. Test scores were compared to those of Alzheimer's patients who took the same test prior to 1996, before donepezil and similar drugs were available and before vitamin E was touted as having a role in disease prevention.
The decline in cognitive test scores of patients who had not taken either agent was three times greater after a year than the decline in scores of patients taking the combined therapy.