Ginkgo biloba is known to have healing properties. (Photo: Pixabay.com)

There is a variety of medications that are used in the treatment of dementia, for which however remains to be demonstrated whether they can contribute to an improvement of cognitive and functional faculties.

Such medications include for example:

Ginkgo biloba (for ex. Tebofortin®): The active principle is extracted from the leaves and seeds of an ancestral tree that is originally from eastern Asia, and which is known to have a positive effect on the circulation as well as on memory performance. It is usually well tolerated.

The impact of Ginkgo on patients with Alzheimer’s has been the subject of various studies, which have led to various results. It is most efficient for treating cases of Alzheimer’s from light to moderate stages of the illness.
Lecithin: vital food supplement that contains choline, needed in the building of cell membranes. Because the body cannot produce it in sufficient quantities, a supplement is very important. It is acknowledged to have a positive effect in the treatment of dementia, even though this has not yet been scientifically proven.

Non-steroidal anti-rheumatic drugs (NSAR): Because of their anti-inflammatory action, medications such as Ibuprofen are often used for treating rheumatism, and in smaller doses as prevention against heart or cerebral infarction. However a prophylactic effect has not yet been scientifically proven.

Nimodipine: medication used for stimulating cerebral circulation. Also used for forms of dementia that are favoured by circulation disorders (vascular dementia). However its efficacy has not yet been scientifically demonstrated.

Oestrogen: female sexual hormone, acknowledged to have a prophylactic effect against dementia-related illnesses. However an oestrogen supplement for post-menopausal women is not recommended, as it is also known to cause undesirable side effects, for example increased risk of stroke.

Piracetam: drug intended to improve cerebral circulation as well as the oxygen supply of the brain. Used in the treatment of cognitive impairment for elderly people (with the exception of Alzheimer’s). However no positive effect has yet been scientifically proven, and its use is still contested.

Selegiline: substance that inhibits the dopamine breakdown in the brain, and which is used in the treatment of patients with Parkinson. However no positive effect of this substance has yet been scientifically proven in the treatment of dementia.
Statins: drugs that contribute to reducing the plaque formation in the vessels with patients who have suffered a cardiovascular event (such as a heart infarction). Since a cardiovascular risk profile increases the risk of dementia, a statins supplement is believed to have a prophylactic effect on the formation of dementia. This however has not yet been scientifically proven.

Vinpocetine: Substance known to enlarge the cerebral blood vessels. Due to an increased cerebral circulation, this medication is believed to have a positive effect on dementia. However this effect has not yet been scientifically proven, for which reason the use of this medication in the treatment of dementia is still contested.

Vitamin E (tocopherol): vitamin E is essential for a proper function of the brain. It acts as a protection for the myelin sheath, a protective layer surrounding the cerebral neurons. This slows down the aging process and is therefore helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E is not only a substance of its own, but also designates a complete family of powerful antioxydants. However a high dose of vitamin E can also cause undesirable side effects.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine): water-soluble vitamin, plays an important role in the body especially for the function of the nervous system. However no positive effect of this vitamin B has yet been scientifically proven in the treatment of dementia.

Vitamin B6, B12, folic acid: increased homocysteine levels seem to be associated with a higher risk of dementia. A supplement of folic acid, as well as of vitamin B6 and B12 (in smaller quantities) can contribute to lower homocystein levels significantly. There is however no studies that indicate that vitamin B are useful as a preventative measure against dementia. On the contrary, a deterioration of cognitive faculties has been observed in older people who had been administered Vitamin B12.

As a general rule, any lack of vitamins should be remediated with the help of vitamin supplements.