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Spring Hill couple inspires research into coconut oil for Alzheimer's patients

Jodie Tillman / Tampa Bay Times 6/3/2013 — In those first two years, her husband used chopsticks again. He also oiled door hinges, slow danced at a party, remembered his hairdresser's name. He rewatched When Harry Met Sally and blurted "I'll have what she's having!" before the woman in the diner did.

Mary Newport, who is a physician, didn't think she had found a cure to reverse her husband's early onset Alzheimer's disease. But she was convinced the coconut oil she had begun giving Steve in May 2008 had eased his symptoms.

The Newports' story, first told in the Tampa Bay Times in 2008, went global. Mary Newport heard from thousands of people. She lobbied researchers, politicians and support groups to study the effects of coconut oil on Alzheimer's patients. She even wrote a book she says sold more than 50,000 copies.

Taking coconut oil is a scientifically untested and unproven treatment for Alzheimer's, dismissed by much of the scientific community. But Dr. Newport's collection of positive anecdotes about nearly 275 patients who used coconut oil intrigued researchers at the University of South Florida's Byrd Alzheimer's Institute.

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