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Vitamin E may ease movement disorder.

In the last five years, several research teams have reported mixed results in using vitamin E to treat tardive dyskinesia (TD), a serious movement disorder induced by antipsychotic drugs. A new study now lends support to the notion that this nutrient often eases the involuntary twitches, jerks and grimaces that develop in roughly 20 percent of persons taking an antipsychotic medication (SN: 5/11/91, p.293).

Symptoms of TD decreased sharply among nine of 16 psychiatric patients treated for eight to 12 weeks with large daily doses of vitamin E, reports Lenard A. Adler of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Only one of 12 psychiatric patients with TD treated for the same time period with placebo pills showed comparable improvement. During the trials, patients took prescribed doses of an antipsychotic medication and other drugs.

Vitamin E appears to hold more promise for relatively young TD sufferers, Adler contends. In his study, four of five patients under age 58 improved markedly on vitamin E, compared with five of 11 patients over 58.

Reasons for the conflicting results of recent vitamin E studies remain unclear, Adler maintains. Some evidence indicates that recent-onset TD cases respond best to vitamin E, but two prior reports of the nutrient's ineffectiveness in treating TD do not specify when abnormal movements first appeared in treated patients, he points out. Adler's team also could not document the duration of TD among their study participants.

Vitamin E may offer relief from TD by helping protect key areas of the brain from free radicals, says Sally R. Szymanski of Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Glen Oaks, N.Y. Antipsychotic drugs trigger the production of these toxic molecules by increasing the metabolism of various neurotransmitters, such as dopamine.
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Title Annotation:tardive dyskinesia
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 23, 1992
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