Antidepressants slow Alzheimer’s

A commonly prescribed antidepressant may be able to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Antidepressants slow Alzheimer’s

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s is expected to double by 2030, and scientists are looking at any way in which this disease could be slowed or stopped. This week researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, USA announced that a commonly prescribed antidepressant, Citalopram, may be a step in the right direction.

The drug may be able to help reduce the production of one of the main components in brain plaques thought to cause Alzheimer’s. A build-up of these plaques has been linked to the memory problems and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Slowing the production of the plaques may be one way to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The scientists tested the drug on mice and found that the antidepressant was able to stop the growth of plaques. Just one dose of the drug was enough to lower the production of amyloid beta (the primary ingredient in brain plaques) by 37 per cent in healthy adult mice.

In a follow up study, researchers gave a single dose of Citalopram to 23 healthy adult humans who were not depressed or suffering mental decline. Samples were taken of their spinal fluid over the following 24 hours, which revealed that amyloid beta production had declined by 37 per cent.

Researchers have warned, however, that these are very early results, and that, although antidepressants are often well tolerated, many do come with side-effects, making it a risky treatment option.
You can find out more at the BBC News website.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    26th Jun 2014
    These new findings sound promising. ANYTHING to delay or prevent the onset of that bastard disease should be trialled here in Australia. I work in aged care and dementia wards in a major hospital, and it is heartbreaking to see the toll it takes, not only on the patient, but on their families. I would sign up today to participate in a study. Bugger the (minor) side effects - better than the alternative!
    26th Jun 2014
    It sure is a terrible thing to happen to anybody. A friend of ours just drove 1000 Kms to visit his 74 year old Father, and his Dad did not have a clue who he was. The 2nd visit his Father seemed to appreciate who his son was. We are grateful that we are the same age and have no signs so far.
    26th Jun 2014
    Watching a loved one slowly but surely succumb to Alzheimers can be devasating and cause anxiety and depression in those who try to care for them or have to make the difficult decision to place them in aged care. My Mum and Auntie both had Alzheimers. Both died from Kidney Failure.
    26th Jun 2014
    Coconut oil, turmeric, zinc, and vitamin D are also useful in minimising your risk of dementia, and sometimes for minimising symptoms of dementia. Google coconut oil and dementia Dr Mary Newport if you would like to know more.
    26th Jun 2014
    I agree YS, more people need to read up on the benefits of coconut oil and get back to eating more good fats in our diet. Dementia and Alzheimer's are on the increase, ever since we were told to reduce fat.
    27th Jun 2014
    I think this is a better option, prevention is something we should be researching more, not a manmade 'pill' which may or may not work and has other side effects.
    27th Jun 2014
    Agreed musicveg, we need to draw on the knowledge of the best researchers in this country for help. There are very few human trials for any diseases here in OZ.

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