A new dementia drug made from pigs’ brains could help sufferers of a vascular variant of the disease.
The new drug, brand name Cerebrolysin improves concentration, memory processing and mood in patients and appears to have no adverse side effects.
Vascular dementia, caused by damage to blood vessels supplying the brain affects around 1 in four of dementia sufferers. Symptoms include vagueness, lack of concentration, difficulties communicating, as well as seizures and confusion.
The drug which is still undergoing trials is licensed in some countries for dementia, stroke and traumatic brain injury – although not yet in the UK or US.
A recent review by researchers at the Department of Neurology at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China, said they had found evidence to suggest that Cerebrolysin can help improve cognitive and global function in patients with mild to moderate severity vascular dementia. They reviewed evidence from six trials on 597 patients who were given Cerebrolysin in different amounts over different timespans. It was found that the drug significantly improved brain function, including recall, arithmetic and other cognitive abilities. It also improved general mood.
Cerebrolysin is a drug made from pig brain proteins that has produced some positive results from small vascular dementia trials. Another difficulty is that it has to be given by regular intravenous infusions necessary, says the review. So far no serious side affects have been reported.