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Could new drug slow Alzheimer's?

29 July 2016 08:27

Alzheimer's breakthroughs have proved elusive

Alzheimer's breakthroughs have proved elusive

Alzheimer's disease sufferers may one day have their mental functionality preserved and brain deterioration slowed thanks to a new drug, scientists hope.

Researchers say it is premature to get too excited about the LMTX study, because of the small sample of patients - 891 - and its overall lack of success.

The optimism stems from the fact that it helped around one in six (15%) of those sufferers tested who were not on other Alzheimer's medication.

Among this small group, MRI scans discovered that brain cells were not killed off to the same extent as those not taking the drug. Scientists also found that LMTX takers with no other such medication had preserved thinking power.

LMTX works by targeting the accumulation of protein tau tangles inside neurons. Such tangles are believed to mark the end stage of Alzheimer's that results in the brain cells dying.

What the experts say

Serge Gauthier, Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit director at Canada's McGill University calls the findings "encouraging".

Dr. Gauthier says such research has become "plagued" by constant lack of success down the years with no practical advances in the therapeutic field for more than 10 years.

The Alzheimer's Research UK charity's chief scientific officer David Reynolds told BBC reporters that Alzheimer's disease patients would not be taking the drug for years even if it is proven to work.

The Alzheimer's Society's Doug Brown says the research offers a glimmer of hope. Dr. Brown says that new breakthroughs are beginning to indicate that dementia could be stopped one day.

The Alzheimer's Association International Conference in the Canadian city of Toronto presented the findings.

Holidays with Alzheimer's

Going away on a foreign holiday with Alzheimer's need not be as stressful as many may think if trusted Alzheimer's-related travel insurance is taken out.

This not only offers round-the-clock emergency medical help, it also covers lost medication.

Policies cover the usual travel insurance matters such as delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage, missing travel documents and stolen possessions.

Policies can also be taken out to cover Alzheimer's sufferers' carers too.