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Drug improves cognition in brain tumour patients

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK Apr 8: Treatment with donepezil, a drug approved for treating Alzheimer's disease dementia, leads to significant improvement in mental function and quality of life in patients who have undergone radiation treatment for brain tumours, researchers report.

Brain tumours and their treatment, including radiation therapy, lead to cognitive impairment in many patients, Dr Stephen R Rapp and colleagues at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The team theorised that radiation may cause damage to neurons that leads to a deficiency of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which occurs in Alzheimer's disease.

To see if donepezil therefore might help, they gave the drug daily for a total of 24 weeks to patients who had undergone radiation therapy for a brain tumour.

Twenty-four patients completed the study. They improved significantly over the treatment period in measures of attention and concentration and verbal and figural memory. There was also a trend toward increased verbal fluency.

Confusion was reduced and patients also appeared have lower levels of fatigue and anger. Health-related quality of life improved significantly and there was a trend toward improvement in social and emotional functioning.

These findings, Rapp said in a statement, ''encourage continued investigation of donepezil'' and other similar drugs. The researchers are currently planning a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial ''to confirm these favorable results.''

Drug improves cognition in brain tumor patients NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Treatment with donepezil, a drug approved for treating Alzheimer's disease dementia, leads to significant improvement in mental function and quality of life in patients who have undergone radiation treatment for brain tumours, researchers report.

Brain tumours and their treatment, including radiation therapy, lead to cognitive impairment in many patients, Dr Stephen R Rapp and colleagues at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The team theorised that radiation may cause damage to neurons that leads to a deficiency of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which occurs in Alzheimer's disease.

To see if donepezil therefore might help, they gave the drug daily for a total of 24 weeks to patients who had undergone radiation therapy for a brain tumour.

Twenty-four patients completed the study. They improved significantly over the treatment period in measures of attention and concentration and verbal and figural memory.

There was also a trend toward increased verbal fluency.

Confusion was reduced and patients also appeared have lower levels of fatigue and anger. Health-related quality of life improved significantly and there was a trend toward improvement in social and emotional functioning.

These findings, Rapp said in a statement, ''encourage continued investigation of donepezil'' and other similar drugs.

The researchers are currently planning a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial ''to confirm these favorable results.''

Reuters

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