People with vascular dementia may benefit from a new treatment called Cerebrolysin, according to the results of a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library today (Thursday 31 January).
Researchers reviewed data from six randomized controlled trials involving 597 people. All were given Cerebrolysin intravenously in different daily concentrations and for different treatment periods of time depending on the trial. Compared to standard care alone or placebos, Cerebrolysin significantly improved cognitive function. This was assessed with scales testing recall, arithmetic or other cognitive abilities. It had a small positive effect on patients' overall clinical state. There is also some suggestion that long-term treatment was associated with greater benefits, although only two trials looked at long-term effects.
Cerebrolysin is a drug treatment made from pig brain proteins.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'This review is interesting but highlights the lack of research into vascular dementia. If we are to really understand whether Cerebrolysin can be potentially be used to treat people more research is needed into its long term effects.
'Vascular dementia is the second most common form of the condition affecting around a quarter of all people with dementia. While other forms of dementia have seen progress in research, there is currently no treatment for vascular dementia. We desperately need more research and more funding for research if we are to develop effective interventions for all forms of dementia.'
Research reference: Chen N et al; Cerebrolysin for vascular dementia; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 1