Antidepressant May Combat Alzheimer's

Monday, 02 May 2011 07:57 AM

An antidepressant drug that costs just 4 cents a dose to make could be the key to staving off Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists believe.

As lithium is not under patent it should be available very cheaply, Britain’s Daily Mail reports.

The Mail says the 200 miligram pill costs 2.4 British pennies, the equivalent of 4 cents.

Tests have shown that lithium can slow the progression of memory loss, and now scientists want to see if it can be used to prevent dementia.

A study of elderly people in Brazil found those who took lithium — which is generally used to treat mood swings and bipolar conditions — had significantly better memories than those given a placebo.

Dr. Orestes Forlenza of Sao Paulo University said: “This study supports the idea that giving lithium to a person who is at risk of Alzheimer's disease may have a protective effect, and slow down the progression of memory loss to dementia.

“Although our study has a relatively small sample size, we believe our results are promising and point to a need for further trials with larger numbers of participants.”

Professor Allan Young, who reviewed Forienza’s study for the British Journal of Psychiatry, said: “Clearly this trial is encouraging and the effects of lithium on cognition and Alzheimer's disease biomarkers are very suggestive of likely benefit.”

To read the complete Daily Mail story, Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

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