The antidepressant could "improve old age for millions" slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's


The antidepressant could "improve old age for millions" slowing the progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

  • The first human traces of the effects of trazodone on diseases will begin this year
  • Results in mice suggest that it could slow down neurodegenerative conditions
  • The researchers plan to confirm whether it is an effective treatment within five years

An existing antidepressant medication could "improve old age for millions". slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to scientists at the University of Cambridge.

The first trials on humans will begin by the end of the year to determine whether drug trazodone can protect against the march of neurodegenerative conditions.

The medicine is already authorized in the United Kingdom for the treatment of depression, but has never been used previously as a potential treatment for dementia.

If the first studies on healthy man are successful, researchers will test the drug on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients.

They expect to confirm whether it is an effective treatment within five years.

An antidepressant drug could slow the progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's (stock)

An antidepressant drug could slow the progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's (stock)

And, since the existing drug has already proven to be safe, it could become available to patients as NHS-approved treatment much more quickly than new drugs.

Lead scientist, Professor Giovanna Mallucci, of the UK's Dementia Research Institute, said the drug was designed to work by increasing protein production rates that protect against brain cell death – a process known as synthesis protein.

Last week he told the Dementias conference in London 2019: "Delay this process [of brain cell degeneration] it will improve old age for millions, which I would consider a surprisingly good result in the treatment of dementia.

"If we could keep people at their early cognitive presentation or even slow down the speed at which they decline, I think it would really change lives."


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills and the ability to perform simple tasks.

It is the cause of 60 percent to 70 percent of dementia cases.

Most people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older.

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease.

It is not known what causes Alzheimer's. Those who have the APOE gene are more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Difficulty remembering the information just learned
  • Disorientation
  • Mood and behavioral changes
  • Suspicion about family, friends and professional assistants
  • More serious memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking

Alzheimer's stages:

  • Mild Alzheimer's (initial phase) – A person may be able to function independently but is having memory problems
  • Moderate Alzheimer's (intermediate stage) – Typically the longest stage, the person can confuse words, be frustrated or angry, or have sudden behavioral changes
  • Severe Alzheimer's disease (advanced stage) – In the final phase, people lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation, and ultimately control movement

There is no known cure for Alzheimer's, but experts suggest exercise, social interaction and the addition of omega-3 fats that stimulate the brain to your diet to prevent or slow down the onset of symptoms.

The degeneration of brain cells is a common factor in dementia and other brain diseases, such as Parkinson's and CJD, also known as "mad cow disease".

It happens when the cells are stressed and stop producing enough protein, which makes them unable to work properly and leads to cell death.

Professor Mallucci said the drug would not be a "panacea" or prevent the onset of dementia, but the positive results of early studies on cells and in mice have suggested it could be an effective way to slow down the progression of the condition .

Speaking after the conference, he said: "We are doing our first studies to see if trazodone increases protein synthesis rates in humans at the end of this year.

"If studies show that it works in the human brain the same way [as it did in mice]I am really optimistic that we will see an effect in some patients – I would be surprised if there was no effect.

"I feel like it's likely to work in some people because it was so powerful in the animal model."

Earlier this month, a separate study by University College London and Hong Kong University found no association between patients who prescribed trazodone for other conditions and a reduced risk of developing dementia.

But this study was based on the examination of the medical records and did not take into account different doses or how long each patient took the drug.

He also considered only the prevention of the disease, not the slowing down of the progression or the alleviation of the symptoms.

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the United Kingdom, with numbers exceeding 1 million by 2025.

The dott. David Reynolds, of Alzheimer & # 39; s Research UK, said: "We look forward to seeing Prof. Mallucci's initial research into trazodone as an advancement of treatment in human clinical trials. on mice are promising, but what is true in animals is not always true in people.

"Trazodone is an authorized antidepressant and already used in some cases to help manage symptoms in Alzheimer's.

"The best way to see if trazodone can be of benefit to people with dementia is through well-controlled clinical trials."


Parkinson's disease affects one in 500 people, and about 127,000 people in the UK live with this condition.

The figures also suggest one million Americans suffer.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness in movements, tremors, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, compromised quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

It is known that patients have fewer dopamine supplies because the nerve cells that make it are dead.

There is currently no cure and no way to stop the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific studies are under way to try to change it.

The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.



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