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Breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug discovered to slow down condition by a third

After endless trials and years of trying and failing, experts have announced that they are now on ‘the cusp’ of introducing an Alzheimer’s drug which has been found to slow the progression of the cognitive condition by 35%. Doctors are heralding the new drug as the ‘beginning of the end’ for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, as 944,000 individuals struggle with the disease in the UK alone. 


The miracle drug is known as Donanemab, an antibody which has been engineered to clear beta-amyloid from brain cells, a stinky gunk that builds up in the spaces between brain cells that go on to form distinctive plaques which are regarded as one of the most significant hallmarks of the disease. The drug was discovered to have 40% less decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living. Those part of the trials also experienced a 39% lower risk of progressing to the next stage of disease compared to those on a placebo drug. 


Predominately affecting those over 65, the number of people living with dementia globally is estimated to nearly triple to 153 million by 2050. Alzheimer’s is regarded by the NHS as one of the most common causes of dementia, which is the name for a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. Symptoms progress depending on person to person, and it can start with the misplacement of an item and end up with difficulty swallowing or eating. Some conditions can contribute to a worsening of the disease, including infections, stroke and delirium. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is yet to be discovered, but the risk of developing such appears to be increased when suffering from conditions to the heart. 


Dr Liz Coulthard, an associate professor in dementia neurology at the University of Bristol stated that the data is positive but has emphasised the need to see the full dataset. Coulthard also commented on how Donanemab may help people with Alzheimer’s live for longer and is overall a hugely significant moment for dementia research. 


                                                                                                                                     Edited By Aminat Akintobi

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