A clinical trial to see if any of the existing and cheap drugs available around could be used in the prevention of dementia and cognitive decline after a stroke has been given the green light. The British Heart Foundation is working with the Alzheimer’s Society in order to test two treatments for circulatory and heart diseases in those people that have suffered stroke occurring in the brain’s smallest blood vessels.
The development is gladly welcomed by people who have been involved in the study of Alzheimer’s like Baroness Susan Greenfield. The pressing need for answers on the many things that are considered to be relatively unknown about the disease means that every bit of development is welcomed in the quest for finally finding an effective treatment to the neurodegenerative disease.
What the trial focuses on is the condition known as lacunar stroke. It is characterized by blood flow in the body getting affected as a result of the damage of one of the small blood vessels that are within the brain. This condition is often considered the reasons behind ischemic strokes where the flow of blood towards the brain gets interrupted. The condition can be serious especial since it may lead to long-term disability. Researchers also believe that the same stroke can contribute to about 40% of the cases of dementias even when Alzheimer’s disease has been pinpointed as the main cause.
At present, there are no available proven treatments that can prevent lacunar strokes. In addition, using anti-clotting stroke treatments such as aspirin may just end up being harmful. For the study, two kinds of drugs that are being tested in the trial are also being used to treat other conditions. For instance, Cilostazol is often used to treat those people that are suffering from a peripheral arterial disease. Meanwhile, isosorbide mononitrate is being used presently as a treatment for people that are suffering from conditions such as angina.
Thanks to the research, it is believed that the use of these drugs can help in the reduction of brain arterial damage which is considered to cause a stroke that can then lead to the decline of the cognitive functions. People that are taking part in these trials will then get MTI scans in order to determine what are the effects of these drugs on the brain’s small blood vessels.
The research has the potential to save numerous lives if it will prove to be successful especially in the prevention of lacunar strokes and certain cases of dementia as well. In the UK, about 38,000 people suffer from fatal stroke every year. The condition is also considered as the major cause of the disability of stroke survivors.
At present, BHF is funding a total of £21 million research for the prevention and treatment of stroke, as well as £4.5 million dedicated to research on Alzheimer’s. Stay updated on new developments and news on Alzheimer’s diseases and dementia by reading about Susan Greenfield online.