Wednesday 21 November 2018

Hope that low-cost drugs can prevent dementia

Stock picture
Stock picture

John von Radowitz

A clinical trial is to research whether cheap, readily available drugs can prevent dementia after stroke.

Two charities, the British Heart Foundation and Alzheimer's Society, are working together to test the approach.

Over three years, a team led by Professor Joanna Wardlaw at the University of Edinburgh will see what effect the drugs have on around 400 stroke patients.

The LACI-2 trial, to be launched during Dementia Awareness Week, focuses on lacunar stroke - a type that affects the smallest blood vessels in the brain.

Research suggests lacunar strokes could contribute to at least 40pc of dementias, even when the main cause is Alzheimer's disease.

Around 10,000 people in Ireland suffer a stroke each year.

The drugs being tested are cilostazol, which is used to treat peripheral arterial disease, and the angina pill isosorbide mononitrate. Both cost cents.

Damage

Standard anti-clotting agents including aspirin may be harmful in cases of lacunar stroke.

Dr Shannon Amoils, senior research adviser at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We know that lacunar strokes can cause brain damage, affecting the way people walk and think, so there is a strong link to dementia.

"With no treatments for lacunar stroke, this important trial will establish if two drugs, already available for other conditions, are safe to use in people with this type of stroke."

Dr Doug Brown, chief policy and research officer at Alzheimer's Society, said: "Finding an existing drug which can prevent dementia would be a huge breakthrough, so it's really promising to see from the trial we funded that two drugs with this potential were safe to use for people with stroke."

Irish Independent

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