Allergy Drug May Help Treat Alzheimer's

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There may be hope for Alzheimer's patients after what researchers are calling an "encouraging" drug trial involving a hay fever medication.

The drug, called dimebon, appears to stop the symptoms of Alzheimer's and may even improve memory.

In a recent study on 183 early stage Alzheimer's patients, those who took dimebon showed great improvement on mental tests and behavior.

The results were measured after six months, and continued for at least a year.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see the effect on cognitive function, on memory, on activities of daily living that not only were clearly significant, but seemed to increase over time," said Dr. Sam Gandy, former chairman of the Alzheimer's Association.

Dimebon was not originally designed to treat Alzheimer's. It was once licensed in Russia as an antihistamine to help with allergies.

The dimebon study proved promising since current Alzheimer's drugs are not effective after three to six months. But more research is needed, since the drug trial was fairly broad.

"The recent announcement of an additional... trial is encouraging," Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust said. "More research on this scale is desperately needed if we are to offer hope to (those) who live with Alzheimer's and other dementias."

Source: ABC News, BBC News

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