May 18, 2019

Memory supplements come under scrutiny

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Note: Some totals don't add to 100% due to rounding; Data: SurveyMonkey poll of 2,360 U.S. adults conducted May 5-8, 2019 with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Poll methodology; Chart: Axios Visuals

Memory supplements claiming to ward off cognitive decline abound but there is so far little evidence they're effective.

The big picture: The business of memory supplements — from branded regimens to vitamins — pulled in $3.2 billion globally in 2016.

"People are willing to pay and do anything to preserve their brains ... but we don’t have the knowledge yet to give really effective interventions that change that trajectory as much as people think."
— Joanna Hellmuth, neurologist, University of California, San Francisco

"The problem is that a lot of the interventions being marketed directly to consumers don’t do rigorous studies of the outcomes," says Hellmuth, who recently wrote about the "rise of pseudomedicine" for brain health.

  • There are also questions about the safety of supplements, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The Food and Drug Administration recently cited 17 companies for illegally selling products "that claim to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease and a number of other serious diseases and health conditions."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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