Arthritis drug restores memory of Alzheimer's patients in minutes

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London, Apr 12 (UNI) Doctors have claimed a drug used in treatment of arthritis can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease ''in minutes''.

US reserachers used a drug called Enbrel, normally used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and injected it into the spine at the neck of the Alzheimer's sufferers.

Patients were then tilted to encourage blood flow into the brain where the drug was designed to block a chemical responsible for inflammation.

The scientists claimed the treatment allowed an 82-year-old sufferer to recognise his wife for the first time in years.

At least one patient had his symptoms reversed ''in minutes'' while others showed continuing improvement in problems such as forgetfulness and confusion after weekly injections, the study said.

They needed less help from carers during treatment, which appears to reach a plateau at three months, it added.

Lead researcher Professor Edward Tobinick of the University of California, Los Angeles and the director of the Institute for Neurological Research felt the drug had been effective in most cases.

''It makes practical changes that are significant and perceptible, making a difference to his ability to do activities of daily living such as getting around, accomplishing things and conversing,'' he said.

''Some patients have been able to start driving again. They don't come back to normal but the change is good enough for patients to want to continue treatment, and some have been doing so for three years,'' the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

UNI XC RJ DS1213

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