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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Neurological Disorders Channel
Reported January 31, 2013

Pig Brain Proteins for Dementia?


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – New research shows a promising new treatment that is made from pig brain proteins, Cerebrolysin, for those who suffer from vascular dementia. 
Vascular dementia is a common form of dementia caused by damage to the network of blood vessels supplying the brain.  The symptoms are similar to Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, but particularly those who suffer from vascular dementia experience difficulty thinking quickly, concentrating, and communicating, along with seizures and severe confusion.  
Researchers reviewed data from six randomized controlled trials from 597 participants.  They were all given Cerebrolysin intravenously in different daily concentrations and for different treatment periods, ranging from a few weeks to three years.  Cerebrolysin, when compared to standard care or placebos, significantly improved cognitive function.  
The patients’ cognitive function was assessed with scales testing recall, arithmetic, and other cognitive abilities.  The treatment had a small positive effect on patient’s overall clinical state.   Long-term treatment was associated with greater benefits; however, only two trials examined long-term effects.
"Our review suggests that Cerebrolysin can help improve cognitive and global function in patients with mild to moderate severity vascular dementia.  The results are promising but due to low numbers of trials, inconsistencies between trials, risk of bias in the way some of the trials were conducted and lack of long-term follow-up, we cannot yet recommend Cerebrolysin as a routine treatment for vascular dementia,” researcher Li He of the Department of Neurology at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China, was quoted as saying.
Those involved in studies reported serious side-effects due to taking the drug and non-serious side effects were no more common in those who took the drug compared to control groups.
“This indicates to us that Cerebrolysin is safe and well tolerated by patients with vascular dementia,  but the fact that it has to be given in regular intravenous infusions means it could be impractical for use on a large scale,” Li He said. 
SOURCE:  The Cochrane Library, January 2013
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