Ritalin To Fight Alzheimer’s Apathy

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There are currently no prescription medications capable of stopping memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients, although many trials and studies are being conducted to change that. In the mean time, experts can only treat other symptoms of Alzheimer’s, which include apathy.

Paul Taylor, of the Globe and Mail, reports that “up to 70-percent of Alzheimer’s patients can sink into a state of detachment that greatly reduces their quality of life.” Doctors say that although the individuals are still cognitively capable of interacting with those around them, they cease to do so and become emotionally blunt. It becomes a real problem as the patients cease to take part in their own treatment and essentially allow the disease to derail their life before it has to.

A recent study found that methylphenidate, which is more commonly known by the brand name Ritalin, helped with this apathy. Researchers noted that the apathy seemed to start when a part of the brain called the dopaminergic reward system, which regulates the release of dopamine to create a sense of reward, reduced its activity. Ritalin helps release dopamine in the brain.

The study found that patients treated with Ritalin also experience a slight boost in “global cognition”. Though this can’t be considered anything near a cure for Alzheimer’s, it is a great weapon to improve patient’s quality of life for longer.

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