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Exelon Offers Some Hope for Slowing Down the Progression of Alzheimer’s

The new class of drugs Aricept, Exelon, and Reminyl are believed to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the early to moderate stages for some patients. A presentation at last week's annual meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry highlighted a group of 83 patients who took the drug Exelon and remained in the early stages of AD for five years (so far), far longer than would have been expected for those without treatment.

Exelon is among a group of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors, which boost levels of a key neurotransmitter linked to brain function. This chemical, acetylcholine, boosts memory and learning. Alzheimer's disease results in decreasing levels of this neurotransmitter substance which closely corresponds to cognitive losses.

The Alzheimer's Association explains that about one-third of Alzheimer's patients who go on these drugs have "robust" responses, while the remaining patients either have minor improvements or none at all.

This does not mean that a drug like Exelon will return a severely impaired Alzheimer’s patient to an early stage. However, the results are encouraging for those in the early stages as some patients will respond well showing improved cognition and life quality and for a longer period of time than was previously believed by the medical community. Therefore if one of the above drugs is working for an individual patient, the doctor should keep on prescribing it for a much longer period of time as for some people the drug does appear to slow down disease progression.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com




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