Effect of Bacopa Monnieri on Cognitive Functions in Alzheimer’s Disease Patients
Background: Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative condition mostly affecting the elderly. It significantly affects the patient’s quality of life. So far there is no proven effective therapeutic intervention for such patients. Bacopa monnieri is an indigenous plant which is found throughout India. It has been referred in Ayurveda since centuries as a “Medhya Rasayan” (nootropic).
Studies have shown various effects of Bacopa monnieri among which is its inhibitory effect on the enzyme cholinesterase. This can result in decrease in the breakdown of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter whose decreased levels are seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
Aims & Objectives:
We conducted this study to evaluate the effect of Bacopa monnieri on cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
This was an open label, prospective, uncontrolled, non-randomized trial. Study population included all newly diagnosed patients of Alzheimer’s disease in the Psychiatry Outdoor Patient Department between 60-65 years of age. Baseline scores on Mini Mental State Examination Scale (MMSES) were recorded for all patients. Subsequently all patients took 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri standardized extract (Bacognize®) orally twice a day for 6 months. MMSES scores were recorded again after the completion of study drug.
Mean age of 39 patients who completed the study was 65.23 years. Study patients showed statistically significant improvements in various components of MMSES including orientation of time, place & person, attention and in their language component in terms of reading, writing & comprehension at the end of trial. The patients involved in this trial also reported improvement in their quality of life, and decrease in the irritability and insomnia.
The results of our clinical trial show that Bacopa monnieri standardized extract (Bacognize® 300 mg twice a day orally) for 6 months results in improvement in some aspects of cognitive functions in geriatric patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. While the above results are encouraging given the improvement in cognitive functions in geriatric Alzheimer’s disease patients, further studies that include a control group are required to validate these results.