A combination cocktail improves spatial attention in a canine model of human aging and Alzheimer's disease

J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;32(4):1029-42. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-120937.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) involves multiple pathological processes in the brain, including increased inflammation and oxidative damage, as well as the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques. We hypothesized that a combinatorial therapeutic approach to target these multiple pathways may provide cognitive and neuropathological benefits for AD patients. To test this hypothesis, we used a canine model of human aging and AD. Aged dogs naturally develop learning and memory impairments, human-type Aβ deposits, and oxidative damage in the brain. Thus, 9 aged beagles (98-115 months) were treated with a medical food cocktail containing (1) an extract of turmeric containing 95% curcuminoids; (2) an extract of green tea containing 50% epigallocatechingallate; (3) N-acetyl cysteine; (4) R-alpha lipoic acid; and (5) an extract of black pepper containing 95% piperine. Nine similarly aged dogs served as placebo-treated controls. After 3 months of treatment, 13 dogs completed a variable distance landmark task used as a measure of spatial attention. As compared to placebo-treated animals, dogs receiving the medical food cocktail had significantly lower error scores (t11 = 4.3, p = 0.001) and were more accurate across all distances (F(1,9) = 20.7, p = 0.001), suggesting an overall improvement in spatial attention. Measures of visual discrimination learning, executive function and spatial memory, and levels of brain and cerebrospinal fluid Aβ were unaffected by the cocktail. Our results indicate that this medical food cocktail may be beneficial for improving spatial attention and motivation deficits associated with impaired cognition in aging and AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Camellia sinensis
  • Curcuma
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dogs
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Spatial Behavior / drug effects*
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • green tea extract AR25
  • turmeric extract