Only 3% of people aged 55 and over would see their GP if they experienced memory loss, forgetfulness or a decline in their ability to make decisions, all of which are potential signs of a mild cognitive impairment.
A OnePoll survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by Nestlé Health Science found that more than a quarter considered these symptoms a ‘normal’ part of ageing, while half knew little or nothing about MCI despite the condition being twice as common as dementia.
MCI is a decline in cognitive functioning and is considered to be a transitional stage between ‘normal’ ageing and dementia. It occurs when the brain has less glucose available as an energy source.
The survey found many over 55s regularly forget to message or call someone back, were unable to recall common words or forgot to go to appointments. Some 46% admitted to completely losing their train of thought mid-sentence.
Hans-Juergen Woerle, chief medical and scientific officer for Nestlé Health Science, said: “It’s not uncommon for people to shrug off symptoms of cognitive decline as simply signs of ‘getting older,’ but if you are becoming increasingly forgetful or feel that you are not thinking as clearly as you used to, you should speak to a healthcare professional. Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment should be taken seriously.”
Nestlé Health Science claimed to have developed a drink, called BrainXpert Energy Complex, that contains a compound that provides an energy source for the brain. The compound is rich in ketogenic medium chain triglycerides (kMCT) and milk protein.
Participants with MCI who took part in a clinical trial of the drink showed improved memory and word recall and increased ability to think quicker and multitask when taking it twice a day for six months.
The study, published in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia journal, found that using the ketogenic drink clinically demonstrated a doubling of the ketones used by the brain, thereby significantly reducing the brain energy deficit caused by impaired brain glucose metabolism.
Clinical trial principal investigator professor Stephen Cunnane, from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, said: “Identifying significant improvement in cognitive function in patients with MCI is an exciting development that gives us great motivation to stay on this research track.
“This is only the beginning and the hope is that new innovations can be found to not just boost brain function, but to slow down progression to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline linked to ageing.”