Woman with dementia

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There isn’t a drug that slows the tempo of dementia

Scientists hope they’ve discovered a drug to cease all neurodegenerative mind ailments, together with dementia.

In 2013, a UK Medical Analysis Council group stopped mind cells dying in an animal for the first time, creating headline information world wide.

However the compound used was unsuitable for folks, because it brought about organ injury.

Now two medicine have been discovered that ought to have the identical protecting impact on the mind and are already safely utilized in folks.

“It is actually thrilling,” stated Prof Giovanna Mallucci, from the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester.

She needs to start out human scientific trials on dementia sufferers quickly and expects to know whether or not the medicine work inside two to a few years.

Why may they work?

The novel method is concentrated on the pure defence mechanisms constructed into mind cells.

When a virus hijacks a mind cell it results in a build-up of viral proteins.

Cells reply by shutting down practically all protein manufacturing with a purpose to halt the virus’s unfold.

Many neurodegenerative ailments contain the manufacturing of defective proteins that activate the identical defences, however with extra extreme penalties.

The mind cells shut down manufacturing for thus lengthy that they finally starve themselves to loss of life.

This course of, repeated in neurons all through the mind, can destroy motion, reminiscence and even kill, relying on the illness.

It’s thought to happen in lots of types of neurodegeneration, so safely disrupting it might deal with a variety of ailments.

Within the preliminary examine, the researchers used a compound that prevented the defence mechanism kicking in.

It halted the progress of prion illness in mice – the primary time any neurodegenerative illness had been halted in any animal.

Additional research confirmed the method might halt a spread of degenerative ailments.

The findings have been described as a “turning level” for the sector though the compound was poisonous to the pancreas.


  • A neurodegenerative illness is one wherein the cells of the mind and spinal twine are misplaced
  • The capabilities of those cells embody determination making and management of actions
  • These cells usually are not simply regenerated, so the results of ailments will be devastating
  • Neurodegenerative ailments embody Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, a number of sclerosis and Huntington’s

Supply: London Mind Centre

Protected medicine?

Since 2013, the analysis group has examined greater than 1,000 ready-made medicine on nematode worms, human cells in a dish and mice.

Two have been proven to forestall each a type of dementia and prion illness by stopping mind cells dying.

Prof Mallucci informed the BBC Information web site: “Each have been very extremely protecting and prevented reminiscence deficits, paralysis and dysfunction of mind cells.”

The most effective identified drug of the pair is trazodone, which is already taken by sufferers with despair.

The opposite, DBM, is being examined in most cancers sufferers.

Prof Mallucci stated: “It is time for scientific trials to see if there’s related results in folks and put our cash the place our mouth is.

“We’re most unlikely to treatment them fully, however when you arrest the development you alter Alzheimer’s illness into one thing fully completely different so it turns into habitable with.”

However, though trazodone is a present treatment, she added: “As knowledgeable, a health care provider and a scientists, I need to advise folks to attend for the outcomes.”

What do the specialists suppose?

Dr Doug Brown, from the Alzheimer’s Society, stated: “We’re excited by the potential of those findings, from this nicely performed and strong examine.

“As one of many medicine is already accessible as a remedy for despair, the time taken to get from the lab to the pharmacy may very well be dramatically diminished.”

Dr David Dexter, from Parkinson’s UK, stated: “This can be a very strong and necessary examine.

“If these research have been replicated in human scientific trials, each trazodone and DBM might symbolize a serious step ahead.”

Comply with James on Twitter.