The Burke Neurological Institute (BNI) announced that it has received a five-year award expected to total $45 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch a large-scale, multi-center clinical trial to evaluate benfotiamine-a safe bioactive vitamin B1 analogue commonly used in the treatment of peripheral nerve dysfunction-as a potentially effective therapy for mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This follow-up trial will expand on previous work completed at BNI, suggesting that high levels of benfotiamine significantly slowed the rate of functional decline in participants with MCI or early AD.
Vitamin B1 Deficiency and Peripheral and Central Nerve Dysfunction
Vitamin B1 deficiency is believed to be an important factor in the peripheral and central nerve dysfunction commonly experienced by diabetics, the elderly, people with a history of excessive alcohol use and other groups.
Benfotiamine as part of a treatment regimen
Many physicians have had great clinical success incorporating benfotiamine into their treatment regimens for patients with peripheral nerve dysfunction-especially in the feet and legs. It is believed that one of the mechanisms by which benfotiamine improves peripheral nerve function is through the reversal of vitamin B1 deficiency-an often-overlooked cause of nerve dysfunction. Vitamin B1 deficiency and reduced activity of vitamin B1 dependent enzymes have been shown to be associated with cognitive impairment. Hopefully, in this more extensive study, benfotiamine will be shown to improve central nerve function as well.