Dr. Ruth Remington


Ruth Remington

Dr. Ruth Remington has been teaching in the Nursing Department at Framingham State since 2012. She holds a doctoral degree in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts and has been teaching full time for about 15 years, following a long career as a gerontological nurse practitioner. For several years, Dr. Remington has been part of a team researching the effects of a nutraceutical formulation on maintaining brainpower for patients with mild cognitive impairment. This work has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and resulted in the marketing of a product called PerceptivTM.

What led you to transition from a practitioner to teaching?

I enjoyed my career as a nurse practitioner, but also wanted to be able to influence young nurses, especially in the practice of gerontological nursing. So in 2001, I accepted a faculty position at UMass Lowell. I came to Framingham State in 2012 because there is such a strong focus on teaching. Research is important, but teaching is why I am here.

When did you begin researching cognitive impairment?

My master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation examined the effects of calming music and hand massages on agitated behaviors in nursing home residents. From then on, my main focus has been on non-pharmacological interventions to manage the symptoms of dementia—in other words, simple interventions that caregivers can use to help their patients. For the past 12 years, I’ve been collaborating with Tom Shea at UMass Lowell, who had just completed animal studies on a nutraceutical formulation made up of six vitamins and nutraceuticals when I joined him. He tested different combinations of the formulation on mice that had dementia to find what worked best. I began working with him on the clinical study on people.

Discuss the study you recently had published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study examined 34 individuals with mild cognitive impairment, which is characterized by cognitive decline beyond that anticipated for an individual’s age. Approximately half of those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment are eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Half of the people in the study were provided with our nutraceutical formulation and half were provided with a placebo. Individuals receiving the formulation demonstrated improved memory within three months and maintained that improvement over the course of one year. Individuals receiving the placebo did not improve. However, after six months the individuals receiving the placebo were provided with the formulation, after which they demonstrated improvement.

What conclusions can we draw from your work?

These latest findings confirm previous studies published from 2008 to 2015 by our team, which also includes Framingham State professors Cynthia Bechtel, Robert Page and Annmarie Samar. In those studies, the formulation improved memory and cognitive performance for individuals without memory difficulties, and improved cognitive performance and mood for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s becoming increasingly clear that a healthy lifestyle that includes nutrition, as well as exercise, social activity and mental exercise, can help us to maintain our brainpower as we age.