Lithium to treat Alzheimer's?

Posted on 03 May 2011

Lithium supplements could slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, a study into mild cognitive impairment has suggested.

Some mild cognitive impairment patients were treated with lithium while others received a placebo.

Those who were given lithium experienced a slower decline in cognition than the participants who did not receive the drug, although both groups saw some sort of decrease.

As mild cognitive impairment is known to sometimes lead to Alzheimer's disease, the implication is that lithium could be used to stave off the condition.

Dr Anne Corbett, research manager at the Alzheimer's Society, called the results "interesting" and said they could help slow the progression of the disease, in its early stages.

"However this is a small, preliminary trial and there are still concerns over the side effects caused by lithium," she added.

In other research news, it is thought that a protein linked to Alzheimer's disease could directly affect the memory loss seen in the condition.

Researchers at the University of South Florida found that the protein disturbs cell division, leading to dysfunctional neurons which could contribute to the memory loss seen in the condition.

Posted by Nigel Murphy

 

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