Alzheimer’s disease: publication of new research into the role of nutritional supplementation

Dr Alan Howard and Professor John Nolan began working together in 2009, initially looking into the benefits to visual health from nutritional supplements containing the three carotenoids, Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin. This led to the Howard Foundation supporting a number of clinical trials and associated research at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) at which Professor Nolan is the Principal Investigator. The full list of papers resulting from the research supported by the Foundation is given on the Publications page.

By 2014 the research had moved on to looking at brain as well as visual health. The first paper from the Carotenoids and Age-Related Dementia Study (CARDS-1) was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. This showed that patients with Alzheimer’s disease are deficient in carotenoids and have poorer vision when compared to age-matched controls. In 2018, results from the Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST) showed, for the first time, that supplementation with the 3 carotenoids in the healthy population improves cognitive function by improving memory.

Further research by Professor Nolan and his team led to the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) with the 3 carotenoids into new studies supported by the Howard Foundation. CARDS-3 was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018 and indicated that combining the carotenoids with omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This led to the setting up of a major new trial named Re-MIND (Memory Investigation with Nutrition for Dementia). Patients with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease consumed a daily supplement for 12 months in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.

In October 2022, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease will publish the results of the Re-MIND trial. This trial has shown that patients with Alzheimer’s disease who consume a nutritional supplement containing fish oil, carotenoids and vitamin E benefit from targeted nutritional intervention. The main outcomes included slower rates of disease progression and greater improvements in mood and memory (as reported by the carers) of patients receiving the active intervention. The Editor-In-Chief, Prof George Perry, says “Re-MIND adds strong clinical evidence to the growing body of data supporting a key role for nutrition in reducing the incidence and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease with supplements.

The Re-MIND trial was led by Professor John Nolan and Dr Rebecca Power from the NRCI, working with Prof Ríona Mulcahy, Consultant Physician in General and Geriatric Medicine at University Hospital Waterford. The supplements used in the trial were supplied by  Industrial Organica (IOSA) of Mexico and are commercially available as ReMind™ in Europe and the UK and Memory Health® in the USA.

Click here to read the press release from the South East Technological University in Ireland of which the NRCI is a part.

Click here to read the pre-press online publication of the paper which will be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Volume (90) Issue (1) on 25 October. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-220556

Lifetime achievement award for José Torres

The 2022 BON conference presented a lifetime achievement award to Mr José Torres to honour his remarkable career in the development of production techniques for the ingredients of supplements containing carotenoids and towards sponsoring research into their applications. Below are two photographs of José taken at the 2018 and 2022 conferences.

José Torres with Dr Alan Howard at the BON Conference 2018
Professor John Nolan, BON chair, with José Torres at the BON Conference 2022.

José Torres was born in December 1933 in Monterrey, Mexico, number six and eldest son in a family of eight. He studied Chemical Engineering at Monterrey Tech where he captained the American Football team for three years during which they won the Championship in two of them. After graduating in 1956, he did his M.Sc., also in Chemical Engineering, at the University of Wisconsin.

José formed his first company in 1956 and later he founded Industrial Orgánica, SA (IOSA) in 1966, followed by several other companies to support the work of IOSA. The company is involved in the research, production, manufacture and purification of Carotenoids, extracted from locally grown marigold plants, to produce high quality formulations for Human and Animal Nutrition. Under his leadership, IOSA has been granted 14 US and WIPO patents for several unique processes and formulations. 

Dr Alan Howard first met José and his colleagues in the mid-1990s. They worked together with the research and clinical trials at WIT to uncover the function of Meso-Zeaxanthin within macular carotenoid products for the treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration.  

BON Conference 2022

The second BON (Brain and Ocular Nutrition) conference was held in the Howard Theatre at Downing College from 27th to 29th July. This was the fifth conference on Macular Carotenoids sponsored by the Foundation.

This conference, held over from 2021 due to the pandemic, was attended by over 130 scientists and commercial partners. There were twenty four scientific presentations and a number of poster presentation from young researchers. The organising committee made a special effort to encourage younger scientists to participate. Each of the nine scientific session had two chairs with one being a young researcher.

There were three awards presented at the gala dinner on the Thursday evening:
The Alan Howard Medal for Best E-Poster:
1st Place:  Mr. Warren Roche
2nd Place:  Mr. Emmanuel Kofi-Addo
3rd Place:  Ms. Mickeal Key

The Invited Speaker Award:
1st Place:  Dr. Christopher Zwilling
2nd Place:  Ms. Uzoamaka Nwagbo

The Early Investigator of the Year Award (The George Britton Medal):
1st Place:  Dr. Kwadwo Akuffo
2nd Place:  Ms. Parimala Sivaperuman

Dr George Britton was a special guest at the conference. Dr Britton has been a leading researcher on Carotenoids since 1966, starting at the time of pioneering chemistry research to uncover the secrets of Lutein and Zeaxanthin. He has published over 56 papers and wrote the first books on the subject. 

The BON committee, working together with the Howard Foundation, plan for the next conference to be held for the first time in the USA in 2025.