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J Neurodegener Dis. 2013;2013:454253. doi: 10.1155/2013/454253. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

The Effect of Lipoic Acid Therapy on Cognitive Functioning in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy.
Department of Neuroscience, "S. Giovanni di Dio" Hospital, 88900 Crotone, Italy.
Institute of Neurological Science, National Research Council, Roccelletta di Borgia, 88021 Catanzaro, Italy.
Department of Neuroscience, "S. Giovanni Paolo II" Hospital, 88046 Lamezia Terme, Catanzaro, Italy.
Neurophysiology Unit, General Hospital, 87067 Rossano, Cosenza, Italy.
General Medicine Unit, General Hospital, 87055 San Giovanni in Fiore, Cosenza, Italy.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is an important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Most diabetic patients have insulin resistance (IR) that is associated with compensatory hyperinsulinemia, one of the mechanisms suggested for increased AD risk in patients with DM. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a disulfide molecule with antioxidant properties that has positive effects on glucose metabolism and IR. This study evaluated the effect of ALA treatment (600 mg/day) on cognitive performances in AD patients with and without DM. One hundred and twenty-six patients with AD were divided into two groups, according to DM presence (group A) or absence (group B). Cognitive functions were assessed by MMSE, Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive (ADAS-Cog), Clinician's Interview-Based Impression of Severity (CIBIC), Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), and Alzheimer's Disease Functional and Change Scale (ADFACS). IR was assessed by HOMA index. At the end of the study, MMSE scores showed a significant improvement in 43% patients of group A (26 subjects) and 23% of group B (15 subjects), compared to baseline (P = .001). Also ADAS-Cog, CIBIC, and ADFACS scores showed a significant improvement in group A versus group B. IR was higher in group A. Our study suggests that ALA therapy could be effective in slowing cognitive decline in patients with AD and IR.

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