Such were the findings of two doctors in California after experimentally injecting etanercept into the spine of the patient, an 81-year-old doctor.
Before the treatment he was in good physical health and speaking fluently, but could not remember where he was, the day of the week, his birthday or the names of his doctors.
After the spinal injection of the drug etanercept, improvement was rapid, Edward Tobinick and Hyman Gross report in Journal of Neuroinflammation.
When examined two hours later the patient remembered that he was in California and he could recall his doctor’s name. Asked to name objects shown on a series of pictures, he was right nine times out of ten. He was correct just once before the treatment.
Etanercept was used because it is an anti-TNF (tumour necrosis factor). The authors of the above study believe that TNF is involved in the processes in Alzheimer’s disease that disrupt brain functioning.
Okay. Hold your horses people and remember that the above treatment was done only in 1 person – an 81-year old Alzheimer’s patient.
While it is good to know that an arthritis drug can be beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients, let us wait until the same positive results are found in a bigger population.
Etanercept – popular brand: Enbrel – is an injectable drug that blocks tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) and is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
TNF alpha is a protein that the body produces during the inflammatory response, the body’s reaction to injury.
TNF alpha promotes the inflammation and its associated fever and signs (pain, tenderness, and swelling) in several inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Etanercept is a synthetic (man-made) protein that binds to TNF alpha. It thereby acts like a sponge to remove most of the TNF alpha molecules from the joints and blood.
This prevents TNF alpha from promoting inflammation and the fever, pain, tenderness and swelling of joints in patients with rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Etanercept reduces the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, the arthritis of psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It prevents the progressive destruction of the joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and the arthritis of psoriasis.
Find more details from the UK Times Online.