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Arthritis drug may ease dementia: case-report
1 hour, 3 minutes ago
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a new report, U.S. researchers describe the improvement in brain function that occurred in a patient with Alzheimer's disease just minutes after receiving an injection in the spine of the arthritis drug Enbrel (also known as etanercept).
For instance, just prior to treatment the patient was agitated and could not name the state. Ten minutes after treatment, he appeared calmer, more attentive, less frustrated and was able to correctly name the state. Further improvements in mental functioning, memory, and other cognitive parameters were noted at 2 hours.
Dr. Edward L. Tobinick, from the University of California at Los Angeles, and Dr. Hyman Gross, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, describe the case in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
Their observations are consistent with a study they conducted in 2006, in which injection of etanercept given weekly over 6 months led to significant improvements in mental function in a group of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
In that initial study, the protocol approved by the institutional review board called for monthly cognitive testing. However, the researchers noticed that cognition often seemed to improve just minutes after treatment, which led them to their current study.
Consistent with their earlier observations, etanercept injection rapidly improved cognition
Studies have suggested that a protein involved in inflammation known as TNF-alpha is involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease, the investigators note. Etanercept blocks this protein. Further studies looking at the effects of TNF-alpha blockers on symptoms of dementia are warranted, the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: Journal of Neuroinflammation 2008.