The US National Institute of Aging is conducting a national clinical trial to see if a plant commonly used in China for cognitive problems might work against Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
Chinese club moss is already sold in the United States as a nutritional supplement, but researchers give patients in the trial either a placebo or a dose of an alkaloid extract from the plant larger than that currently available in stores. After the first phase of the trial, all patients take the extract for eight weeks and have the choice to continue taking it if they think it is helping them with their memory problems. Researchers also test the cognitive function of the volunteers during the course of the trial, the Associated Press (AP) said.
The trial is one of several federally funded studies that will try to ascertain the effectiveness of alternative therapies for various health conditions; the US National Institutes of Health has earmarked $300.5 million for such research in the 2007 budget year.
"That kind of data is completely missing today from most nutraceuticals," trial investigator Dr Daniel Kaufer, a neurologist at the University of North Carolina, told the AP. – (HealthDayNews)
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