Monday, February 21, 2011

GreatMind and Alzheimer's Disease

Have you ever found yourself dashing from one engagement to the next? Trying to cram a heap of busyness into a small opening in your date book, wishing you had a few extra hours. You get home feeling quite accomplished, but wait, something is missing. You forgot that one critical item. Or perhaps you ran into a VIP from your office and blanked on his or her name. Maybe you finished baking and instead of putting the flour in the cupboard, it ended up in the refrigerator. I, of course, have never done any of these things. (Who am I kidding?) Whatever the case, it is possible you have found yourself wishing there was a magic pill to improve memory.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus seems to think there is. They have recently backed the brain claims for Nature Made's GreatMind supplement. They found significant scientific research supporting the statements "Enhances mental clarity and performance"; "Helps guard against normal cognitive decline associated with aging" and "Naturally helps improve and maintain short-term memory". GreatMind contains vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin B12, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride (ALCAR) and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e). The formulation for this supplement has been used in three studies headed by Thomas Shea, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts. The only difference was Shea used 12 mcg doses of B12 and GreatMind contains 6 mcg. Participants used had early, moderate and later-stage Alzheimer's disease.
Shea's studied involved a double-blind study, with 93 participants; a six-month trial with 38 subjects and no control and a two-week study with 43 subjects that compared treatment with a placebo. However, the largest study included 18 to 80-year-olds with no known or suspected dementia, with both control and treatment groups given either a placebo or GreatMind at different periods over the 12-month study.

"Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD concluded that the results of the Shea Studies, which found statistically significant improvement in various measures of cognitive ability in those participants taking GreatMind, provided a reasonable basis for the specific claims about the supplement's ability to improve and maintain memory and cognitive ability," NAD concluded.

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