Tags: Breakthrough | Treatment | May | Reverse | Senility

Breakthrough Treatment May Reverse Senility

Tuesday, 04 April 2006 12:00 AM

An exciting new treatment for the carotid arteries is proving extremely effective in improving the cognitive function and alertness in elderly individuals with narrowing carotids -- even those who don't appear to be suffering any mental decline.

The treatment, called stenting with protection, involves opening the carotids with small tubes called stents in combination with a screen-like filter that prevents bits of loose arterial plaque from moving to the brain where it can cause trouble.

Dr. Rodney Rabbe and his colleagues have been treating patients with the procedure at the Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash.

Dr. Rabbe described the stunning results at the Society of Interventional Radiology meeting in Toronto, according to a report in Med Page Today.

"We thought people weren't going to decline," he told reporters "We had no idea they were going to improve. It's like hitting a grand slam in your first at bat."

The stent study has enrolled 51 patients of a planned 100, and so far 39 have been followed for three months and 30 for six months.

Before and after the procedure, the researchers did extensive neurological and cognitive tests on the patients.

Surprisingly, the three month analysis showed that no patients suffered decline from the treatment, although stenting procedures have always caused some damage for some patients.

The six-month data was even more surprising -- patients weren't just holding steady, they were actually improving in tests of cognitive function and in their real-life functioning.

Some patients were able return to jobs or independent living situations they had had to give up, said Dr. Rabbe. One former champion bridge player was able to recover her winning edge after the treatment.

Dr. Rabbe said one possible conclusion is that there is no such thing as an asymptomatic narrowing of the carotid arteries.

"If there is such a significant cognitive improvement in asymptomatic patients, then they weren't asymptomatic," he said. "They didn't think as well as they should."

The study appears in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

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An exciting new treatment for the carotid arteries is proving extremely effective in improving the cognitive function and alertness in elderly individuals with narrowing carotids -- even those who don't appear to be suffering any mental decline. The treatment, called...
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2006-00-04
Tuesday, 04 April 2006 12:00 AM
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