Important news just in: McGill University research results just published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, has indicated that: “when given in a formulation that facilitates passage to the brain, lithium in doses up to 400 times lower than what is currently being prescribed for mood disorders is capable of both halting signs of advanced Alzheimer’s pathology such as amyloid plaques and of recovering lost cognitive abilities.” If this is the case, it could have an incredibly beneficial impact on countless millions of people.
When it comes to the value of lithium therapy within this field of mental health, scientists are divided. A great deal of this controversy is due to the point that the data collected thus far, has been taken using a broad spectrum of dosages and timing of treatment and formulations; therefore, the consequences of these factors are extremely hard to compare. Moreover: “continued treatments with a high dosage of lithium render a number of serious adverse effects making this approach impracticable for long term treatments especially in the elderly.”
Heading in the Right Direction
The McGill University researchers had studied previous research on lithium, but on this occasion, they had decided to use the same lithium formula on rats which had neuropathological elements of the disease, and were suffering the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. Their great work has shown that: “beneficial outcomes in diminishing pathology and improving cognition can also be achieved at more advanced stages, when amyloid plaques are already present in the brain and when cognition starts to decline.”
Dr. Claudio Cuello, the study lead, and professor at McGill’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, remarked: “From a practical point of view our findings show that micro-doses of lithium in formulations such as the one we used, which facilitates passage to the brain through the brain-blood barrier while minimizing levels of lithium in the blood, sparing individuals from adverse effects, should find immediate therapeutic applications.”
Cuello also went on to highlight his point of view that: “While it is unlikely that any medication will revert the irreversible brain damage at the clinical stages of Alzheimer’s, it is very likely that a treatment with micro-doses of encapsulated lithium should have tangible beneficial effects at early, preclinical stages of the disease.”
Cuello believes that at the present time, there are two options which could propel everything forward. Number 1: is the investigation of combination therapies. This would involve the use of his lithium formula in conjunction with other potentially beneficial drugs. And number 2: is the launching of new clinical trials using this formula on populations who have evident pre-clinical Alzheimer’s pathology; or on groups of individuals with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s, for example, those who suffer from Down’s Syndrome.
Cuello notes that although a large percentage of pharmaceutical companies are no longer conducting these forms of trials, he would nonetheless, like to find financial or industrial partners who could make this become a reality, and in the end, bring about some light at the end of the tunnel for Alzheimer’s sufferers.