June 29th, 2010 at 2:13 am
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Apple Juice for Alzheimer’s? Study Shows It Helps Behavior

by Carol Bursack

I get excited when I read about studies that find that nutritional foods and/or already available drugs can help people with Alzheimer’s. Many studies show promise of a miracle drug in the pipeline, but if you or your loved one is at risk or already coping with Alzheimer’s symptoms at this time, reports on these studies don’t do much more than cause frustration. People want help now.

An alert on a study done with apple juice caused me to rejoice. An article titled Apple juice improves behavior but not cognition in Alzheimer’s patients pointed to a study conducted by Ruth Remington, RN PhD, Amy Chan, PhD, Alicia Lepore, MS, Elizabeth Kotlya, MS, and Thomas B. Shea, PhD.

The authors of the study wrote, “The modest, but statistically significant, impact of apple juice on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in this study adds to the body of evidence supporting the usefulness of nutritional approaches, including fruit and vegetable juices, in delaying the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, even in the face of known genetic risk factors.”

Results of the study were published in American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. Researchers found that, “Apple juice can be a useful supplement for calming the declining moods that are part of the normal progression of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The patients in the study drank two four-ounce glasses of apple juice each day for a month. There was no change in cognitive ability, but there were significant changes in behaviors and mood such as agitation and anxiety. To me that is huge. Many questions that come my way are from people asking how they can help their loved one calm down.

I know the helpless feeling of a caregiver watching a loved one endure anxiety. My dad’s dementia wasn’t Alzheimer’s – it came on after brain surgery–but he would have times of horrible anxiety. All we, his family, wanted during those times was to give him relief. It does no good to tell someone with dementia that “this will pass.” They can’t get that. All they know is that they are miserable, anxious and afraid.

Yet some many anti-anxiety drugs can have undesirable side effects, and many make the person so sleepy that one wonders if that type of remedy is a good choice. Sometimes there is no choice but to look to pharmaceuticals. However, what if your loved one is one of those who could benefit significantly from drinking two glasses of apple juice a day? Unless there is a medical reason not to do so, I’d put apple juice on my immediate shopping list today.

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