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New research has found that Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated with drugs commonly prescribed to patients with high blood pressure.
Scientists in the US found that the drugs, known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), both prevented the degenerative disease occurring and slowed its progression. They said the effect was “striking”.
The records of about six million patients treated for high blood pressure between 2001 and 2006 were examined, using a database at the US Department of Health Systems Veterans Affairs.
Those taking ARBs were 35% to 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia than patients on different medications, the researchers told the 2008 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Chicago.
Patients already suffering from the disease when they started taking ARBs had a 45% reduced chance of developing delirium, being admitted to a nursing home, or dying prematurely, and those who had experienced strokes before or during the course of their illness appeared to benefit most from the drugs.
Study leader Professor Benjamin Wolozin said: “The study is particularly interesting because we compared the effects of ARBs to other medications used for treating blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.”
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