Scientists believe that an anti-epilepsy drug could help those with mild Alzheimer’s after research showed the treatment to restore brain activity in patients.
The Harvard researchers said there was evidence that links seizure-like activity to cognitive decline in patients with dementia.
Using this theory, they believe that treating erratic brain waves with anti-epilepsy treatment could prove beneficial in patients with dementia, potentially curing the disease at an early stage.
The scientists looked at Alzheimer’s patients in a small-scale study. Each participant was given either a placebo or an anti-seizure drug and scanned using an EEG machine.
According to the report, patients given high levels of the drug performed better in mental tasks.
The drug also appeared to “normalise” abnormalities in the patients’ brain scans.
Lead author Dr Daniel Press said: “If this abnormal electrical activity is leading to more damage, then suppressing it could potentially slow the progression of the disease.
“It’s worth noting, we did not demonstrate any improvement in cognitive function after a single dose of medication in this study.
“It’s too early to use the drug widely, but we’re preparing for a larger, longer study.”
Alzheimer’s currently affects around 850,000 people in the UK, and is on track to becoming the country’s biggest killer.