An energy drink for the brain is giving families of people living with Alzheimer's disease hope. See how the high-powered prescription shake works.
Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Memory impairment, as well as problems with language, decision-making ability, judgment, and personality, are necessary features for the diagnosis. The cause of AD is not entirely known but is thought to include both genetic and environmental factors. Dementia symptoms include difficulty with many areas of mental function, including:
• Emotional behavior or personality
• Cognitive skills (such as calculation, abstract thinking, or judgment)
Dementia usually first appears as forgetfulness.
THE BRAIN: Glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain. Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients exhibit a decline in the ability to metabolize glucose in the brain. Inadequate glucose leads to damage resulting in impaired memory and cognition and brain shrinkage. These metabolic defects in the brain often appear 10 to 20 years earlier than other Alzheimer's symptoms.
THE SHAKE: Axona is a prescription medical food intended for the clinical dietary management of the metabolic processes associated with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The human brain relies almost exclusively on glucose as a source of energy. Axona is converted by the liver into ketone bodies, which provide an efficient alternative fuel for brain cells. Ketone bodies are naturally-occurring compounds that are produced mainly by the liver from fatty acids during periods of extended fasting. Ketone bodies have been shown to protect neurons. (SOURCE: about-axona.com)
RESULTS: A small study, funded by the manufacturers of the product, found that memory and cognition improved for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. However, more studies are needed to determine its safety and effectiveness. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't approve medical foods, nor does it test medical foods for safety or effectiveness. (SOURCE: Mayo Clinic)
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