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Posted: August 05, 2008

Daily Pill Said To Stop Alzheimer's

British scientists say they have developed a drug that, taken daily in pill form, stops Alzheimer's disease in its tracks by attacking the tangles that ravage the Alzheimer’s sufferer’s brain.

 

The drug is known as Rember, and scientists say it appears in testing to be twice as effective as current Alzheimer's treatments, reducing the effects of the memory-robbing disease by as much as 81%. Even patients who have lost memory function appear to recover, according to the British researchers.

 

"We appear to be bringing the worst affected parts of the brain functionally back to life," said Dr. Claude Wischik, of the University of Aberdeen, who headed the research team.

 

Results of the research, which evolved from a trial with more than 300 people with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease, were presented last week at the International Conference on Alzheimer's disease in Chicago.

 

The subjects, from Britain and Singapore, were divided into four groups, with three taking different doses of the drug and a fourth group taking a placebo After nearly a year, those with both mild and moderate Alzheimer's who were taking Rember experienced 81% less mental decline compared with those on the placebo.

 

Those taking any dosage of the drug during testing did not experience any significant decline in their mental function over 19 months, while those on the placebo got worse.

 

The drug reportedly works by targeting what are called tangles in the brain. These tangles are what destroy nerve cells and, over time, destroy the patient's memory function.

 

Researchers say the drug could be commercially available within four years, pending the outcome of further trials and the approval of regulatory agencies.

 

Currently, there is no known cure for Alzheimer's, which afflicts mostly the elderly and eventually is fatal.

 

Today, as many as 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, which includes between 200,000-500,000 people under age 65 with young-onset Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. A report by the Alzheimer's Association projects that as many as 10 million baby boomers in the United States will eventually develop Alzheimer's as this large demographic moves into old age.

 

Experts predict that by 2010, there will be almost a half-million new cases of Alzheimer's each year, and by 2050, there will be almost a million new cases each year. Eventually, the report says, the disease will strike one out of every eight boomers.

 

Alzheimer's disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65.

 

(Article courtesy of ConsumerAffairs.com)

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