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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Acetyl-l-carnitine for dementia

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2003
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (77th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
1 Facebook page
4 Wikipedia pages


69 Dimensions

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149 Mendeley
Acetyl-l-carnitine for dementia
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2003
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd003158
Pubmed ID

Sheila A Hudson, Naji Tabet


Dementia is a common mental health problem affecting 5% of those over 65. Various pathological processes are linked to memory impairment in dementia, particularly those affecting the cholinergic neurotransmitter system. Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) is derived from carnitine and is described as having several properties which may be beneficial in dementia. This includes activity at cholinergic neurons, membrane stabilization and enhancing mitochondrial function. Work on the effects of ALC has been ongoing since the 1980s yet the efficacy of ALC in cognitive decline remains unclear. Early studies suggested a beneficial effect of ALC on cognition and behaviour in aging subjects. However, later, larger studies have not supported these findings. Some of the difficulties lie in the early and later studies differing widely in methodology and assessment tools used, and are therefore difficult to compare. ALC is not currently in routine clinical use. The objective of this review is to establish whether Acetyl-l-carnitine is clinically effective in the treatment of people with dementia. The trials were identified from a search of the Specialized Register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group on 8 January 2003 using the terms acetyl-l-carnitine, l-carnitine acetyl ester, acetylcarnitine. All double-blind, randomized, trials involving people with dementia in which treatment with ALC was compared with a placebo group Data were extracted by a reviewer (SH) and entered into Revman 4.1 software. Where possible intention-to-treat data were used, but most of the analyses were of completers (people who completed the study). There are 11 included trials, all of which had restricted the participants to people with Alzheimer's disease. All trials assessed the cognitive effects of ALC and in addition six considered severity of dementia, six considered functional ability and six considered clinical global impression. There were statistically significant treatment effects in favour of ALC at 12 and 24 weeks for the numbers showing improvement as determined by Clinical Global Impression, [OR 2.33, 95% CI 1.25 to 4.35, P<0.01] and [OR 3.91, 95% CI 1.32 to 11.54, P=0.01] but not as determined by the CIGIC at 52 weeks. There was no evidence of benefit for ALC in the areas of cognition, severity of dementia, functional ability or Clinical Global Impression as a continuous measure. Various adverse events were reported, but from the meta-analyses there were no statistically significant differences between treated and placebo groups. There is evidence for benefit of ALC on clinical global impression, but there was no evidence using objective assessments in any other area of outcome. Given the large number of comparisons made, the statistically significant result may be due to chance. At present there is no evidence to recommend its routine use in clinical practice. Although the intention of the review was to access ALC for the treatment of all dementias, the included trials had confined themselves to participants with Alzheimer's disease. Individual patient data may add to the findings, as would trials including other types of dementia and other outcomes (e.g. mood and caregiver quality of life). However, the evidence does not suggest that ALC is likely to prove an important therapeutic agent. More work on the pharmacokinetics of ALC in humans is also required.

Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 149 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Japan 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Unknown 146 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 23 15%
Researcher 19 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 9%
Student > Postgraduate 11 7%
Student > Master 10 7%
Other 30 20%
Unknown 42 28%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 31 21%
Psychology 15 10%
Nursing and Health Professions 10 7%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 7%
Neuroscience 7 5%
Other 26 17%
Unknown 50 34%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 13. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 February 2019.
All research outputs
of 22,786,691 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,314 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 50,756 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 36 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,786,691 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 89th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,314 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.4. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 58% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 50,756 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 36 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its contemporaries.