I get annoyed by exaggerated / false claims made by marketers and advertisers – especially when they claim a scientific basis for their assertions. Therefore, I admire the work of organizations like Truthinadvertising.org who investigate egregious advertising claims.

During one of my recent weekly Carroll emerita virtual coffee meetings I was reminded of  an ad for Prevagen and motivated to visit its web site, review its research claims, and share with you readers (I think that I have more than one!) what I found.

The “key” study cited  (the Madison Memory Study) is a synopsis of a clinical trial done by Madison-based Quincy Bioscience between December 2009 and April 2011.  It is NOT a University of Wisconsin Madison study. The author reports that there were 218 participants ages 40 to 91 with self-reported memory concerns and that 211 completed the study. However, the results section reports 161 individuals broken down into two subgroups – those participants with “minimal” or with no cognitive impairment. To create this breakdown into subgroups, the author used an eight-item AD8 screening tool and focused on respondents who fell into the categories of AD8 0 -1 and AD8 scores 0-2. Hence the 2nd group included participants in the first group.

Participants in the randomized, double blind group received capsules containing 10 MG of apoaequorin and white rice flour; those in the control capsules containing only white rice flour. Nine CogState research battery quantitative, computerized cognitive tests were administered across five testing sessions. The author focused on changes from day one to day 90.

I find the results summarized in Tables 3 and 4 and described in the results section of the article posted on the Prevagen website interesting, easy to understand and far different than the advertising (or the author) claims. For the participants grouped as “most cognitively normal (baseline ADL scores of 0 to 1), significant improvement was found for the PLACEBO condition on five of the nine cognitive indices. For the Prevagen (apoaequorin) treatment group, there was significant improvement on four of the nine cognitive indices! On Day 90 there were statistically significant differences between conditions on only four of the nine cognitive indices.

When the author expanded the group included for analysis (baseline AD8 scores of 0 – 2), significant improvement was again found for the PLACEBO condition on five of the nine cognitive indices. For the Prevagen (apoaequorin) treatment group, there was significant improvement on five of the nine cognitive indices! On Day 90 there were statistically significant differences between conditions on five of the nine cognitive indices.

I fail to find that these results support the author’s claim …”that oral supplementation with Prevagen supports cognitive function in healthy, non demented adults.”

Apparently there are others who concur with me including including a science-based medicine organization, the FTC, and a lawyer with a sense of humor who writes well.

Time for a snack.. Maybe I’ll try some white rice flour if I remember to.

Here is some more food for thought (click the link) about Prevagen.