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Drug “may protect nerve cells”


A type of drug used to treat epilepsy may be able to protect nerve cells from damage, according to reports from the US.

An American research team has found that nerve cells survive better after treatment with epilepsy drugs that regulate the ebb and flow of calcium.

This plays a vital role in nerve cell survival, and the disruption of calcium regulation that come with age may result in a decline in mental functions.

This raises the possibility that controlling calcium might protect brain cells, although the team has stressed that it is as yet too soon to say whether this might help people with Alzheimer’s.

Dr Simon Ridley, research manager at the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: “These early-stage findings show that drugs commonly used to treat epilepsy can protect laboratory-grown nerve cells from damage.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Alzheimer’s Research Trust

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