Prescribed to treat hyperactivity in children, several drugs known as Ritalin may be beneficial in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.
This new discovery raises hope. According to a new study, published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry and relayed by the Dailymail, common drugs given to hyperactive children could treat Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia patients reportedly saw significant improvements in cognitive and brain function after receiving ADHD (attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity) medications such as Ritalin. They would revive a region of the brain that influences certain parameters such as attention, learning and memory.
To reach this conclusion, the British researchers looked at 19 40-year-old studies. They involved nearly 2,000 patients, mostly aged 65 to 80. To their surprise, they found that those who had received noradrenergic drugs had seen a boost in motivation but also an improvement. “light but significant” global cognition, including memory, fluency, and language. Specifically, these drugs work by targeting norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter whose effects relate to attention, learning, memory and the suppression of inappropriate behavior.
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“An Exciting Prospect”
“Repurposing drugs that already exist to treat dementia is an exciting prospect,” said Dr. Mark Dallas, associate professor of cellular neuroscience at the University of Reading. Same story for Dr. Andrew Reid, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham, for whom this study “shows a promising new avenue of research”.
Now researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and University College London are calling for more clinical trials into the effect of these drugs on Alzheimer’s disease. “We can’t yet be sure what effect these drugs might have on a person’s daily life, and we don’t know if the benefits they provide would outweigh the risks.”said Dr Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK.
In total, according to the WHO, 55.2 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or a related disease.
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