A cure for Alzheimer's?

Not quite – but we may at last have a drug that slows its progression.

It’s all over the news – and rightly so. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly have today announced that their dementia drug solanezumab could slow the rate at which Alzheimer’s progresses.

What you need to know:

  • it’s not a cure but it is the first drug ever to directly affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease – no other treatment has ever been shown to do this

  • the initial trial ended unsuccessfully in 2012 but re-analysis indicated significant benefits for people with mild forms of the disease

  • a two-year continuation of the study then confirmed this to be the case with the rate of decline slowing by over 30%

More trials are required to replicate these results and ultimately bring the drug to market but the scientific community is cautiously – and genuinely – excited about this breakthrough.

Dementia is a terrible and distressing collection of diseases that slowly erase a person’s ability to think, remember and function – but although it affects people as they grow older, it is not a natural part of the ageing process.

Like many other diseases, you can take steps to genuinely minimise your risk of developing dementia in your old age by;

  • keeping physically active

  • eating a healthy complex carbohydrate-based diet rich in fruit, vegetables and oily fish and low in fat, sugar and salt

  • maintaining a healthy body weight

  • keeping alcohol intake within healthy limits

  • avoiding tobacco use and second-hand tobacco smoke

  • keeping mentally active

  • maintaining healthy social relationship

Paul Nash – Quealth Clinical Lead

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