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MOVE-IT: Efficacy and safety of N-acetylcysteine in patients with mild vascular cognitive impairment

The early stage of major neurocognitive disorders has become the target for interventional research, as it may provide an optimal therapeutic window for neuroprotection. Mild vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is defined by early cognitive deficits due to coronary artery disease (CAD) that are not severe enough to be classified as dementia. Those with CAD are particularly at risk for developing mild VCI. Oxidative stress and glutathione depletion have been identified as significant factors in age-related neurodegeneration. Previous studies have also found that the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an effective glutathione precursor as it protects the cells from oxidative stress damage.

Our study investigates whether the antioxidant supplement NAC is a safe and effective therapy to improve cognition in patients with CAD and early memory problems, or mild VCI. Patients will be randomized to receive either NAC supplements or a placebo for 24 weeks while participating in a supervised exercise program. We will use new techniques to measure accurately the amount of oxidative stress damage in blood, and evaluate whether the treatment works better in people with certain brain characteristics on MRI scans. Our results will help answer the question of whether NAC, a safe and widely available health supplement, can delay the onset of dementia.