Study: Plant Extracts May Ease Dementia Symptoms
Fri Mar 5, 6:28 AM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Extracts of sage and lemon balm may help to improve memory and behavioral problems in people with Alzheimer's disease (news - web sites) and other types of dementia, scientists said Friday.

Professor Elaine Perry, of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England, told a medical conference that the plant extracts produced promising results in studies.

"In controlled trials in normal volunteers, both extracts improved memory, and lemon balm improved mood. Lemon balm reduced agitation and improved quality of life in people with Alzheimer's disease," Perry said in a statement.

Preliminary data showed that sage also had a significant effect on attention and behavior. The impact of sage on Alzheimer's are still being investigated but preliminary data indicate significant effects on attention and behavior, she added.

Perry, who presented the results to a two-day meeting on the psychiatry of old age, selected and prepared the extracts after studying different plant species used in traditional and herbal remedies and identifying the main chemical components.

The extracts produced minimal or no side effects in the patients and volunteers.

"Extracts of both sage and lemon balm are clearly worth pursuing as potential treatments..," Perry added.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from dementia, which is characterized by memory loss and a progressive decline in thinking, comprehension and judgment. Alzheimer's disease is the leading type of the disorder in the elderly.

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