Pill taken by BP patients could halve dementia risk

Pill taken by BP patients could halve dementia risk London, Mar 6 : A blood pressure pill, which is taken by tens of thousands of patients, could be the key to beating Alzheimer's disease.

British scientists believe that the 3p a day tablet could slow progression of the disease and even combat devastating memory loss, the Daily Express reported.

Experts at the University of Bristol hope that the drug losartan will be so effective that high blood pressure patients could routinely be given it to protect long-term against Alzheimer's.

The university's Dr Pat Kehoe is launching a ground-breaking four-year 2-million-pound UK trial.

"Without wishing to get ahead of ourselves, the beauty of this drug, if it is found to work as we expect, is that it is already available and is cheap," he said.

Previous research has found that people on losartan for high blood pressure also appeared to be significantly protected against dementia - in fact, it is thought to slash the risk by as much as 50 percent.

Now, the scientists hope to test the drug on dementia sufferers. They believe losartan could slow down Alzheimer's by improving blood flow in the brain and altering chemical pathways that cause brain cell damage, brain shrinkage and memory problems.

The ultimate test of any potential new treatment strategy is success in clinical trials, so it is encouraging to see this trial getting underway.

Losartan, and related drugs working in a similar way, have been found to block a naturally occurring chemical called angiotensin II, which prevents the release of vital memory chemicals in the brain.

The new trial will use brain imaging on an estimated 230 patients to measure if losartan helps to reduce brain shrinkage that is strongly linked with reduced memory function and discover if the drug improves memory and quality of life. (ANI)