An injection that dramatically relieved the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease within minutes would qualify as the discovery of the decade. That is exactly what was claimed yesterday for an experimental treatment being tested in America.
Scientists at the Institute for Neurological Research at the University of California have treated around 50 patients at a private clinic by injecting an anti-arthritic drug, etanercept, into the spinal column in the neck and then tilting the patients to encourage the drug to flow to the brain.
They claim 90 per cent respond to the treatment, usually within minutes, and have released videos of patients to prove it.
In one, a nurse sits down with an 82-year-old patient, Marvin Millar, who frowns and mumbles incoherently as she asks him identify everyday objects such as a bracelet and a pencil, which he is unable to do.
But five minutes after being injected with etanercept – according to the film which was supplied and edited by the clinic – he greets his wife. Visibly shocked, she says he has not recognised her for years. Mr Miller then hugs her.