New study on early memory loss launched

Researchers at the new Nutrition Research Centre Ireland in WIT are to examine the effects of a nutritional supplement on people with early memory problems.

The CARES Study will investigate whether or not supplementation with the macular carotenoids (nutrients), vitamin E and fish oil improves cognitive function in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

For this research, the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland aims to recruit 120 volunteers, 60 individuals with a mild cognitive impairment and 60 individuals with no cognitive impairment.

The CARES study is a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. This means that some volunteers will consume the active tablet containing the macular pigments, vitamin E and fish oil, and others will consume the placebo tablet containing no macular pigments, vitamin E or fish oil. Importantly, neither the volunteers enrolled nor the study researchers will know which volunteers are consuming which tablet.

Each of the 120 volunteers – half of whom have a mild cognitive impairment and half have no cognitive impairment – will attend the WIT West Campus in Carriganore, Waterford on three occasions over a 24 month period, at the beginning of the study, at 12 months, and at 24 months. Each study visit will last 2-2.5 hours and refreshments and breaks will be provided as requested.

The volunteers will be asked to take either an active tablet containing the macular pigments (10mg L, 10mg MZ and 2mg Z), vitamin E (15mg) and fish oil (1g) or a placebo (capsule containing sunflower oil but no active ingredients) once a day for 24 months. The tablets will be provided free of charge by the study investigators.

The National Research Centre Ireland was launched this week with 26 members and a projected research budget of €15m over four years. It is expected to conduct ground-breaking research with a national and international impact.

Anyone over 65 years of age not currently taking any eye-related or fish oil supplements can volunteer for the CARES Study. If interested, call 051- 845505.

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