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1.  A Randomised, Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial in Dementia Patients Continuing or Stopping Neuroleptics (The DART-AD Trial)  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e76.
Background
There have been increasing concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of neuroleptics in people with dementia, but there are very few long-term trials to inform clinical practice. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of long-term treatment with neuroleptic agents upon global cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with Alzheimer disease.
Methods and Findings
Design: Randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled parallel two-group treatment discontinuation trial.
Setting: Oxfordshire, Newcastle and Gateshead, London and Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Participants: Patients currently prescribed the neuroleptics thioridazine, chlorpromazine, haloperidol trifluoperazine or risperidone for behavioural or psychiatric disturbance in dementia for at least 3 mo.
Interventions: Continue neuroleptic treatment for 12 mo or switch to an identical placebo.
Outcome measures: Primary outcome was total Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) score. Neuropsychiatric symptoms were evaluated with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).
Results: 165 patients were randomised (83 to continue treatment and 82 to placebo, i.e., discontinue treatment), of whom 128 (78%) commenced treatment (64 continue/64 placebo). Of those, 26 were lost to follow-up (13 per arm), resulting in 51 patients per arm analysed for the primary outcome. There was no significant difference between the continue treatment and placebo groups in the estimated mean change in SIB scores between baseline and 6 mo; estimated mean difference in deterioration (favouring placebo) −0.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] −6.4 to 5.5), adjusted for baseline value (p = 0.9). For neuropsychiatric symptoms, there was no significant difference between the continue treatment and placebo groups (n = 56 and 53, respectively) in the estimated mean change in NPI scores between baseline and 6 mo; estimated mean difference in deterioration (favouring continue treatment) −2.4 (95% CI −8.2 to 3.5), adjusted for baseline value (p = 0.4). Both results became more pronounced at 12 mo. There was some evidence to suggest that those patients with initial NPI ≥ 15 benefited on neuropsychiatric symptoms from continuing treatment.
Conclusions
For most patients with AD, withdrawal of neuroleptics had no overall detrimental effect on functional and cognitive status. Neuroleptics may have some value in the maintenance treatment of more severe neuropsychiatric symptoms, but this benefit must be weighed against the side effects of therapy.
Trial registration: Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials/National Research Register (#ISRCTN33368770).
In a randomized trial of patients with dementia, Clive Ballard and colleagues show that withdrawal of neuroleptics had no overall detrimental effect, and by some measures improved, functional and cognitive status.
Editors' Summary
Background
The number of people with dementia (currently 25 million worldwide) is expected to increase by 5 million each year. The risk of dementia, including Alzheimer disease, increases sharply with age: Alzheimer's Disease International estimates that 1.4% of people 65–69 have dementia, whereas almost a full quarter of those over the age of 85 years are affected. Almost all older dementia patients will experience, along with the cognitive and functional decline typical of the illness, some neuropsychiatric symptoms. These symptoms can include agitation, aggression, and psychosis, and are often devastating for the older patient and his or her family and caregiver. Managing these symptoms is often a prime concern for health-care providers and families. Neuroleptics (sometimes called antipsychotics) are the class of drugs often used to manage or control neuropsychiatric problems, but there have been questions about their safety and appropriateness. Safety concerns involve risk of stroke, parkinsonism, sedation, edema, and chest infections but also include a worsening of cognitive decline with prolonged use of neuroleptics.
Why Was the Study Done?
Previous studies on the effectiveness and safety of neuroleptics in older people have been short term. Ballard and colleagues wanted to study over a longer period of time the impact of neuroleptic drugs on elderly patients with dementia. Specifically, they wanted to know if being on a neuroleptic was associated with more cognitive decline than coming off the drug. They also wanted to investigate whether discontinuing the drug exacerbated any neuropsychiatric symptoms, Parkinson disease-like symptoms, or other functional, language, and cognition difficulties frequently associated with dementia.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited older patients with Alzheimer disease from across England who had been on neuroleptics for at least three months. They randomised patients to one of two groups: the first group continued taking the same neuroleptic at the same dosage level while the second group was switched to an identical-looking placebo. The researchers assessed the patients' cognitive status and neuropsychiatric symptoms upon their entry into the study. Six and 12 months later the researchers assessed any cognitive decline and the level of neuropsychiatric and other problems that patients were experiencing.
At both 6 and 12 months, the researchers found that there were no differences between the two groups (continued treatment and placebo) in terms of cognitive decline. The placebo group may have had less cognitive decline, but this was not statistically significant. They also found no overall differences between the two groups in the change in the number of neuropsychiatric symptoms over these time periods. Patients with severe neuropsychiatric problems at the outset of the trial did better on continued neuroleptic therapy, but this advantage was not statistically significant. There was a significant decline on the verbal fluency language tests among the patients who continued on their neuroleptic.
What Do these Findings Mean?
The researchers report perhaps the first trial of this duration on continued versus withdrawn neuroleptic treatment among older dementia patients. The findings do not indicate any benefit of continuing neuroleptic therapies in older patients on either cognitive or neuropsychiatric outcomes. The researchers conclude that neuroleptics, with their known safety issues, should not be used as first-line treatment to manage problems such as agitation or aggression. For older dementia patients whose neuropsychiatric symptoms are not remedied by nonpharmaceutical treatments, the researchers advise caution. More studies are urgently needed to find better solutions to help older patients with dementia who have agitation, aggression, and psychosis.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050076.
Alzheimer's Disease International is an umbrella organisation of organisations worldwide
The Alzheimer's Research Trust in the UK is a charity funding research to cure or prevent dementias
The US National Institutes of Aging has information on Alzheimer Disease in English and Spanish
Two governmental regulatory agencies—the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the UK and the Food and Drug Administration in the US—offer information about antipsychotics in people with dementia
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050076
PMCID: PMC2276521  PMID: 18384230
2.  Pharmacological enhancement of disc diffusion and differentiation of healthy, ageing and degenerated discs 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(5):626-643.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is still a poorly understood phenomenon because of the lack of availability of precise definition of healthy, ageing and degenerated discs. Decreased nutrition is the final common pathway for DDD and the status of the endplate (EP) plays a crucial role in controlling the extent of diffusion, which is the only source of nutrition. The vascular channels in the subchondral plate have muscarinic receptors but the possibility of enhancing diffusion pharmacologically by dilation of these vessels has not been probed. Although it is well accepted that EP damage will affect diffusion and thereby nutrition, there is no described method to quantify the extent of EP damage. Precise definitions with an objective method of differentiating healthy, ageing and degenerated discs on the basis of anatomical integrity of the disc and physiological basis of altered nutrition will be useful. This information is an urgent necessity for better understanding of DDD and also strategizing prevention and treatment.
Seven hundred and thirty endplates of 365 lumbar discs from 73 individuals (26 healthy volunteers and 47 patients) with age ranging from 10–64 years were evaluated by pre-contrast and 10 min, 2, 4, 6 and 12 h post contrast MRI after IV injection of 0.3 mmol/kg of Gadodiamide. End plates were classified according to the extent of damage into six grades and an incremental score was given for each category. A total endplate score (TEPS) was derived by adding the EP score of the two endplates for each concerned disc. The base line value (SIbase) and the signal intensity at particular time periods were used to derive the enhancement percentage for each time period (Enhancement (%) = SItp – SIbase/SIbase × 100). The enhancement percentage for each time period, the time for peak enhancement (T-max) and the time intensity curve (TIC) over 12 h were used to study and compare the diffusion characteristics. The differences in pattern of diffusion were obvious visually at 4 h which was categorized into five patterns—Pattern A representing normal diffusion to Pattern E representing a total abnormality in diffusion. Degeneration was classified according to Pfirrmann’s grading and this was correlated to the TEPS and the alterations in diffusion patterns. The relationship of TEPS on the increase in DDD was evaluated by a logistic curve and the cut point for severe DDD was found by ROC curve. The influence of the variables of age, level, Modic changes, instability, annulus fibrosis defect (DEBIT), TEPS and diffusion patterns on DDD was analyzed by multiple and stepwise regression analysis.
Oral nimodipine study: Additional forty lumbar end-plates from four young healthy volunteers were studied to document the effect of oral nimodipine. Pre-drug diffusion levels were studied by pre and post contrast MRI (0.3 mmol/kg of gadodiamide) at 10 min, 2, 4, 6, 12 and 24 h. Oral nimodipine was administered (30 mg QID) for 5 days and post-contrast MRI studies were performed similarly. Enhancement was calculated at vertebral body-VB; subchondral bone-SCB; Endplate Zone-EPZ and at superior and inferior peripheral nucleus pulposus-PNP and central nucleus pulposus-CNP, using appropriate cursors by a blinded investigator. Paired sample t test and area under curve (AUC) measurements were done.
The incidence of disc degeneration had a significant correlation with increasing TEPS (Trend Chi-square, P < 0.01). Only one out of 83 (1.2%) disc had either Pfirrmann Grade IV or V when the score was 4 or below when compared to 34/190 (17.9%) for scores 5–7; 41 of 72 (56.9%) for scores 8–10 and 18 of 20 (90%) for scores 11 and 12 (P < 0.001 for all groups). Pearson’s correlation between TEPS and DDD was statistically significant, irrespective of the level of disc or different age groups (r value was above 0.6 and P < 0.01 for all age groups). Logistic curve fit analysis and ROC curve analysis showed that the incidence of DDD increased abruptly when the TEPS crossed six. With a progressive increase of end plate damage, five different patterns of diffusion were visualized. Pattern D and E represented totally altered diffusion pattern questioning the application of biological method of treatment in such situations. Four types of time intensity curves (TIC) were noted which helped to differentiate between healthy, aged and degenerated discs. Multiple and stepwise regression analysis indicated that pattern of disc diffusion and TEPS to be the most significant factors influencing DDD, irrespective of age.
Nimodipine increased the average signal intensity for all regions—by 7.6% for VB, 8% for SCB and EPZ and 11% for CNP at all time intervals (P < 0.01 for all cases). Although the increase was high at all time intervals, the maximum increase was at 2 h for VB, SCB and EPZ; 4 h for PNP and 12 h for CNP. It was also interesting that post-nimodipine, the peak signal intensity was attained early, was higher and maintained longer compared to pre-nimodipine values.
Our study has helped to establish that EP damage as a crucial event leading to structural failure thereby precipitating DDD. An EP damage score has been devised which had a good correlation to DDD and discs with a score of six and above can be considered ‘at risk’ for severe DDD. New data on disc diffusion patterns were obtained which may help to differentiate healthy, ageing and degenerated discs in in-vivo conditions. This is also the first study to document an increase in diffusion of human lumbar discs by oral nimodipine and poses interesting possibility of pharmacological enhancement of lumbar disc nutrition.
doi:10.1007/s00586-008-0645-6
PMCID: PMC2367412  PMID: 18357472
Disc degeneration; End plate; Post-contrast diffusion; Ageing; Nimodipine
3.  Effect of oral nimodipine on cerebral infarction and outcome after subarachnoid haemorrhage: British aneurysm nimodipine trial. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1989;298(6674):636-642.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the efficacy of oral nimodipine in reducing cerebral infarction and poor outcomes (death and severe disability) after subarachnoid haemorrhage. DESIGN--Double blind, placebo controlled, randomised trial with three months of follow up and intention to treat analysis. To have an 80% chance with a significance level of 0.05 of detecting a 50% reduction in an incidence of cerebral infarction of 15% a minimum of 540 patients was required. SETTING--Four regional neurosurgical units in the United Kingdom. PATIENTS--In all 554 patients were recruited between June 1985 and September 1987 out of a population of 1115 patients admitted with subarachnoid haemorrhage proved by the results of lumbar puncture or computed tomography, or both. The main exclusion criterion was admission to the neurosurgical units more than 96 hours after subarachnoid haemorrhage. There were four breaks of code and no exclusions after entry. One patient was withdrawn and in 130 treatment was discontinued early. All patients were followed up for three months and were included in the analysis, except the patient who had been withdrawn. INTERVENTIONS--Placebo or nimodipine 60 mg was given orally every four hours for 21 days to 276 and 278 patients, respectively. Treatment was started within 96 hours after subarachnoid haemorrhage. END POINTS--Incidence of cerebral infarction and ischaemic neurological deficits and outcome three months after entry. MEASUREMENTS--Demographic and clinical data, including age, sex, history of hypertension and subarachnoid haemorrhage, severity of haemorrhage according to an adaptation of the Glasgow coma scale, number and site of aneurysms on angiography, and initial findings on computed tomography were measured at entry. Deterioration, defined as development of a focal sign or fall of more than one point on the Glasgow coma scale for more than six hours, was investigated by using clinical criteria and by computed tomography, by lumbar puncture, or at necropsy when appropriate. All episodes of deterioration and all patients with a three month outcome other than a good recovery were assessed by a review committee. MAIN RESULTS--Demographic and clinical data at entry were similar in the two groups. In patients given nimodipine the incidence of cerebral infarction was 22% (61/278) compared with 33% (92/276) in those given placebo, a significant reduction of 34% (95% confidence interval 13 to 50%). Poor outcomes were also significantly reduced by 40% (95% confidence interval 20 to 55%) with nimodipine (20% (55/278) in patients given nimodipine v 33% (91/278) in those given placebo). CONCLUSIONS--Oral nimodipine 60 mg four hourly is well tolerated and reduces cerebral infarction snd improves outcome after subarachnoid haemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC1835889  PMID: 2496789
4.  Does a single dose of intravenous nicardipine or nimodipine affect the bispectral index following rapid sequence intubation? 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2010;59(4):256-259.
Background
Theoretically, L-type calcium channel blockers could modulate anesthetic effects. Nicardipine does not affect the bispectral index (BIS), but nimodipine, which can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, has not been studied. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether a single dose of intravenous nicardipine or nimodipine could affect BIS following rapid sequence intubation.
Methods
This study was done in a double-blind, randomized fashion. Anesthesia was induced with fentanyl 2 µg/kg, thiopental sodium 5 mg/kg, and 100% oxygen. After loss of consciousness, patients received rocuronium 1.0 mg/kg and either a bolus of 20 µg/kg nicardipine, nimodipine, or a comparable volume of normal saline (n = 20). Intubation was performed 1 min after study drug administration. BIS, mean blood pressure (MBP), and heart rate (HR) were measured before anesthetic induction, after loss of consciousness, before intubation, during intubation, and 1, 2 and 5 min after intubation.
Results
BIS dropped rapidly after induction but increased to 60 before intubation in all groups irrespective of study drug. In nimodipine, the increase in BIS during intubation was not significant compared to pre-intubation, in contrast to the other two groups, but there was no difference in BIS during intubation. HR significantly increased, but MBP just rose to pre-induction values after intubation in nicardipine and nimodipine groups. BIS, MBP, and HR following intubation increased in control group.
Conclusions
A single dose of intravenous nicardipine or nimodipine could attenuate blood pressure increases but not affect BIS increases in rapid sequence intubation.
doi:10.4097/kjae.2010.59.4.256
PMCID: PMC2966706  PMID: 21057615
BIS; Intubation; Nicardipine; Nimodipine
5.  Cholinesterase Inhibitors in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review of Randomised Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(11):e338.
Background
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to a transitional zone between normal ageing and dementia. Despite the uncertainty regarding the definition of MCI as a clinical entity, clinical trials have been conducted in the attempt to study the role of cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) currently approved for symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD), in preventing progression from MCI to AD. The objective of this review is to assess the effects of ChEIs (donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine) in delaying the conversion from MCI to Alzheimer disease or dementia.
Methods and Findings
The terms “donepezil”, “rivastigmine”, “galantamine”, and “mild cognitive impairment” and their variants, synonyms, and acronyms were used as search terms in four electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, PsycINFO) and three registers: the Cochrane Collaboration Trial Register, Current Controlled Trials, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Published and unpublished studies were included if they were randomized clinical trials published (or described) in English and conducted among persons who had received a diagnosis of MCI and/or abnormal memory function documented by a neuropsychological assessment. A standardized data extraction form was used. The reporting quality was assessed using the Jadad scale. Three published and five unpublished trials met the inclusion criteria (three on donepezil, two on rivastigmine, and three on galantamine). Enrolment criteria differed among the trials, so the study populations were not homogeneous. The duration of the trials ranged from 24 wk to 3 y. No significant differences emerged in the probability of conversion from MCI to AD or dementia between the treated groups and the placebo groups. The rate of conversion ranged from 13% (over 2 y) to 25% (over 3 y) among treated patients, and from 18% (over 2 y) to 28% (over 3 y) among those in the placebo groups. Only for two studies was it possible to derive point estimates of the relative risk of conversion: 0.85 (95% confidence interval 0.64–1.12), and 0.84 (0.57–1.25). Statistically significant differences emerged for three secondary end points. However, when adjusting for multiple comparisons, only one difference remained significant (i.e., the rate of atrophy in the whole brain).
Conclusions
The use of ChEIs in MCI was not associated with any delay in the onset of AD or dementia. Moreover, the safety profile showed that the risks associated with ChEIs are not negligible. The uncertainty regarding MCI as a clinical entity raises the question as to the scientific validity of these trials.
A systematic review of trials of cholinesterase inhibitors for preventing transition of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia, conducted by Roberto Raschetti and colleagues, found no difference between treatment and control groups and concluded that uncertainty regarding the definition of MCI casts doubts on the validity of such trials.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Worldwide, more than 24 million people have dementia, a group of brain disorders characterized by an irreversible decline in memory, problem solving, communication, and other “cognitive” functions. The commonest form of dementia is Alzheimer disease (AD). The risk of developing AD increases with age—AD is rare in people younger than 65 but about half of people over 85 years old have it. The earliest symptom of AD is usually difficulty in remembering new information. As the disease progresses, patients may become confused and have problems expressing themselves. Their behavior and personality can also change. In advanced AD, patients need help with daily activities like dressing and eating, and eventually lose their ability to recognize relatives and to communicate. There is no cure for AD but a class of drugs called “cholinesterase inhibitors” can sometimes temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms. Three cholinesterase inhibitors—donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine—are currently approved for use in mild-to-moderate AD.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some experts have questioned the efficacy of cholinesterase inhibitors in AD, but other experts and patient support groups have called for these drugs to be given to patients with a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as well as to those with mild AD. People with MCI have memory problems that are more severe than those normally seen in people of their age but no other symptoms of dementia. They are thought to have an increased risk of developing AD, but it is not known whether everyone with MCI eventually develops AD, and there is no standardized way to diagnose MCI. Despite these uncertainties, several clinical trials have investigated whether cholinesterase inhibitors prevent progression from MCI to AD. In this study, the researchers have assessed whether the results of these trials provide any evidence that cholinesterase inhibitors can prevent MCI progressing to AD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a systematic review of the medical literature to find trials that had addressed this issue, which met criteria that they had defined clearly in advance of their search. They identified three published and five unpublished randomized controlled trials (studies in which patients randomly receive the test drug or an inactive placebo) that investigated the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors on the progression of MCI. The researchers obtained the results of six of these trials—four examined the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors on the conversion of MCI to clinically diagnosed AD or dementia (the primary end point); all six examined the effect of the drugs on several secondary end points (for example, individual aspects of cognitive function). None of the drugs produced a statistically significant difference (a difference that is unlikely to have happened by chance) in the probability of progression from MCI to AD. The only statistically significant secondary end point after adjustment for multiple comparisons (when many outcomes are considered, false positive results can occur unless specific mathematical techniques are used to prevent this problem) was a decrease in the rate of brain shrinkage associated with galantamine treatment. More patients treated with cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of trials because of adverse effects than patients given placebo. Finally, in the one trial that reported all causes of deaths, one participant who received placebo and six who received galantamine died.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the use of cholinesterase inhibitors is not associated with any delay in the onset of clinically diagnosed AD or dementia in people with MCI. They also show that the use of these drugs has no effect on most surrogate (substitute) indicators of AD but that the risks associated with their use are not negligible. However, because MCI has not yet been clearly defined as a clinical condition that precedes dementia, some (even many) of the patients enrolled into the trials that the researchers assessed may not actually have had MCI. Thus, further clinical trials are needed to clarify whether cholinesterase inhibitors can delay the progression of MCI to dementia, but these additional trials should not be done until the diagnosis of MCI has been standardized.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040338.
An essay by Matthews and colleagues, in the October 2007 issue of PLoS Medicine, discusses how mild cognitive impairment is currently diagnosed
The US Alzheimer's Association provides information about all aspects of Alzheimer disease, including fact sheets on treatments for Alzheimer disease and on mild cognitive impairment
The UK Alzheimer's Society provides information for patients and caregivers on all aspects of dementia, including drug treatments and mild cognitive impairment
The UK charity DIPEx provides short video clips of personal experiences of care givers of people with dementia
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040338
PMCID: PMC2082649  PMID: 18044984
6.  Metal protein attenuating compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia 
Background
Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) may be caused by the formation of extracellular senile plaques comprised of beta-amyloid (Aß). In vitro and mouse model studies have demonstrated that metal protein attenuating compounds (MPACs) promote the solubilisation and clearance of Aß.
Objectives
To evaluate the efficacy of metal protein attenuating compounds (MPACs) for the treatment of cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s dementia.
Search methods
We searched ALOIS, the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group Specialized Register, on 29 July 2010 using the terms: Clioquinol OR PBT1 OR PBT2 OR “metal protein” OR MPACS OR MPAC.
Selection criteria
Randomised double-blind trials in which treatment with an MPAC was administered to participants with Alzheimer’s dementia in a parallel group comparison with placebo were included.
Data collection and analysis
Three review authors (RM, LJ, ELS) independently assessed the quality of trials according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
The primary outcome measure of interest was cognitive function (as measured by psychometric tests). The secondary outcome measures of interest were in the following areas: quality of life, functional performance, effect on carer, biomarkers, safety and adverse effects, and death.
Main results
Two MPAC trials were identified. One trial compared clioquinol (PBT1) with placebo in 36 patients and 32 had sufficient data for per protocol analysis. There was no statistically significant difference in cognition (as measured on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale - Cognition (ADAS-Cog)) between the active treatment and placebo groups at 36 weeks. The difference in mean change from baseline ADAS-Cog score in the clioquinol arm compared with the placebo arm at weeks 24 and 36 was a difference of 7.37 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51 to 13.24) and 6.36 (95% CI −0.50 to 13.23), respectively. There was no significant impact on non-cognitive symptoms or clinical global impression. One participant in the active treatment group developed neurological symptoms (impaired visual acuity and colour vision) which resolved on cessation of treatment and were possibly attributable to the drug.
In the second trial a successor compound, PBT2, was compared with placebo in 78 participants with mild Alzheimer’s dementia; all were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. There was no significant difference in the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB) composite, memory or executive scores between placebo and PBT2 in the least squares mean change from baseline at week 12. However, two executive function component tests of the NTB showed significant improvement over placebo in the PBT2 250 mg group from baseline to week 12: category fluency test (2.8 words, 95% CI 0.1 to 5.4; P = 0.041) and trail making part B (−48.0 s, 95% CI −83.0 to −13.0; P = 0.009). In the executive factor Z score, the difference in least squares mean change from baseline at week 12 for PBT2 250 mg compared with placebo was 0·27 (0·01 to 0·53; p=0·042). There was no significant effect on cognition on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or ADAS-Cog scales. PBT2 had a favourable safety profile.
Authors’ conclusions
There is an absence of evidence as to whether clioquinol (PBT1) has any positive clinical benefit for patients with AD, or whether the drug is safe. We have some concerns about the quality of the study methodology; there was an imbalance in treatment and control groups after randomisation (participants in the active treatment group had a higher mean pre-morbid IQ) and the secondary analyses of results stratified by baseline dementia severity. The planned phase III trial of PBT1 has been abandoned and this compound has been withdrawn from development. The second trial of PBT2 was more rigorously conducted and showed that after 12 weeks this compound appeared to be safe and well tolerated in people with mild Alzheimer’s dementia. Larger trials are now required to demonstrate cognitive efficacy.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005380.pub4
PMCID: PMC4165331  PMID: 22592705
Alzheimer Disease [*drug therapy]; Chelating Agents [adverse effects; *therapeutic use]; Clioquinol [adverse effects; *analogs & derivatives; *therapeutic use]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Aged; Humans
7.  Effect of nimodipine on ocular blood flow and colour contrast sensitivity in patients with normal tension glaucoma 
Aim: To investigate the effects of oral nimodipine on ocular haemodynamic parameters and colour contrast sensitivity in patients with normal tension glaucoma (NTG).
Design: The study was performed in a randomised, placebo controlled, double masked, crossover design.
Participants: Nimodipine (60 mg) or placebo was administered to 14 consecutive NTG patients.
Methods: The effects or oral nimodipine or placebo on ocular and systemic haemodynamic parameters and colour contrast sensitivity along the tritan axis were studied two hours after administration. Optic nerve head blood flow (ONHBF) and choroidal blood flow (CHBF) were assessed with laser Doppler flowmetry. Ocular fundus pulsation amplitude (FPA) was measured with laser interferometry. Colour contrast sensitivity (CCS) was determined along the tritan colour axis.
Main outcome measures: ONHBF, CHBF, FPA, intraocular pressure and CCS were assessed in patients with NTG.
Results: Mean ocular FPA increased by 14% (SD 14%) (p = 0.0008), ONHBF by 18% (SD 16%) (p = 0.0031), and CHBF by 12% (SD 14%) (p<0.001) after administration of nimodipine. Nimodipine also decreased the threshold of colour contrast sensitivity along the tritan colour axis (−14% (SD 12%); p = 0.048). However, individual changes in FPA, ONHBF, or CHBF were not correlated with changes in threshold of CCS along the tritan colour axis.
Conclusions: The results indicate that nimodipine increases ONH and choroidal blood flow in NTG patients and improves CCS. The latter effect does not, however, seem to be a direct consequence of the blood flow improvement.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2003.037671
PMCID: PMC1772476  PMID: 15615740
calcium channel blockers; normal tension glaucoma; ocular blood flow; optic nerve head blood flow; colour contrast sensitivity
8.  Severity of CIND and MCI predict incidence of dementia in an ischemic stroke cohort 
Neurology  2009;73(22):1866-1872.
Background:
The utility of poststroke cognitive status, namely dementia, cognitive impairment no dementia (CIND), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and no cognitive impairment (NCI), in predicting dementia has been previously examined. However, no studies to date have compared the ability of subtypes of MCI and CIND to predict dementia in a poststroke population.
Methods:
A cohort of ischemic stroke patients underwent neuropsychological assessment annually for up to 5 years. Dementia was defined using the DSM-IV criteria. Univariate and multivariable Cox proportional regression was performed to determine the ability of MCI subtypes, CIND severity, and individual domains of impairment to predict dementia.
Results:
A total of 362 patients without dementia were followed up for a mean of 3.4 years (17% drop out), with 24 developing incident dementia. Older age, previous and recurrent stroke, and CIND and MCI subtypes were significant predictors of dementia. In multivariable analysis controlling for treatment allocation, patients who were older, had previous or recurrent stroke, and had either CIND moderate or multiple domain MCI with amnestic component were at elevated risk for dementia. In multivariable domain analysis, recurrent strokes, age, and previous strokes, verbal memory, and visual memory were significant predictors of dementia. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that CIND moderate (area under the curve: 0.893) and multiple domain MCI with amnestic component (area under the curve: 0.832) were significant predictors of conversion to dementia. All other classifications of cognitive impairment had areas under the curve less than 0.7.
Conclusion:
Stroke patients with cognitive impairment no dementia (CIND) moderate are at higher risk of developing dementia, while CIND mild patients are not at increased risk of developing dementia.
GLOSSARY
= Alzheimer disease;
= area under the curve;
= confidence interval;
= cognitive impairment no dementia;
= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition;
= European Australasian Stroke Prevention in Reversible Ischemia Trial;
= European Australasian Stroke Prevention in Reversible Ischemia Trial, cognitive substudy;
= hazard ratio;
= lacunar infarct;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= modified Rankin scale;
= no cognitive impairment;
= Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project;
= partial anterior circulation infarct;
= posterior circulation infarct;
= receiver operating curve;
= total anterior circulation infarct;
= vascular dementia;
= Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised;
= Wechsler Memory Scale–Revised.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c3fcb7
PMCID: PMC2788800  PMID: 19949033
9.  Dementia 
Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:1001.
Introduction
Dementia is characterised by chronic, global, non-reversible deterioration in memory, executive function, and personality. Speech and motor function may also be impaired.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments on cognitive symptoms of dementia (Alzheimer's, Lewy body, or vascular)? What are the effects of treatments on behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (Alzheimer's, Lewy body, or vascular)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 33 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine), antidepressants (clomipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, sertraline), antipsychotics (haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone), aromatherapy, benzodiazepines (diazepam, lorazepam), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), cognitive stimulation, exercise, ginkgo biloba, memantine, mood stabilisers (carbamazepine, sodium valproate/valproic acid), music therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), omega 3 (fish oil), reminiscence therapy, and statins.
Key Points
Dementia is characterised by chronic, global, non-reversible deterioration in memory, executive function, and personality. Speech and motor function may also be impaired.
Median life expectancy for people with Alzheimer's and Lewy body dementia is about 6 years after diagnosis, although many people may live far longer.
RCTs of dementia are often not representative of all people with dementia; most are 6 months or less, not in primary care, and most RCTs are in people with Alzheimer's disease. There are fewer RCTs in people with vascular dementia, and fewer still in people with Lewy body dementia.
Cognitive symptoms of dementia can be improved by acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine). Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors seem to improve cognitive function, global state, and activities of daily living scores compared with placebo at 26 weeks in people with Alzheimer's disease.However, they may be associated with an increase in adverse effects, particularly GI symptoms (anorexia, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea).
We don't know whether cognitive stimulation, music therapy, reminiscence therapy, omega 3 fish oil, statins, or NSAIDs are effective at improving cognitive outcomes in people with cognitive symptoms of dementia, as we found insufficient evidence.
In people with cognitive symptoms, memantine may improve global state and activities of daily living scores in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease over 24 to 28 weeks, but we don't know about these in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Although memantine is associated with a statistically significant increase in cognition scores in some population groups, the clinical importance of these results is unclear.
Ginkgo biloba is unlikely to improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia. However, evidence is of poor quality so this conclusion should be interpreted with caution.
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may marginally improve neuropsychiatric symptoms compared with placebo in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, but they are also associated with adverse effects.
Antidepressants (clomipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, sertraline) may improve depressive symptoms compared with placebo in people with Alzheimer's disease associated with depression. However, RCTs were small and short term, and adverse effects were sparsely reported.
Memantine may be associated with a small improvement in neuropsychiatric symptoms compared with placebo in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, but it is also associated with adverse effects.
We don't know whether diazepam, lorazepam, aromatherapy, CBT, exercise, carbamazepine, or sodium valproate/valproic acid are effective at improving neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, as we found insufficient evidence.
Some antipsychotics may improve neuropsychiatric symptoms or aggression in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, but antipsychotics are also associated with an increase risk of severe adverse events such as stroke, TIA, or death.
CAUTION: Regulatory bodies have issued alerts that both conventional and atypical antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of death in elderly people treated for dementia-related psychosis.
PMCID: PMC2907611  PMID: 21726471
10.  Effect of a fixed combination of nimodipine and betahistine versus betahistine as monotherapy in the long-term treatment of Ménière's disease: a 10-year experience 
SUMMARY
Despite an abundance of long-term pharmacological treatments for recurrent vertigo attacks due to Ménière's disease, there is no general agreement on the their efficacy. We present the results of a retrospective study based on a 10-year experience with two long-term medical protocols prescribed to patients affected by Ménière's disease (diagnosed according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium guidelines) who completed treatments in the period 1999-2009. A total of 113 medical records were analysed; 53 patients received betahistine-dihydrochloride at on-label dosage (32 mg die) for six months, and 60 patients were treated with the same regimen and nimodipine (40 mg die) as an add-therapy during the same period. Nimodipine, a 1,4-dihydropyridine that selectively blocks L-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels, has previously been tested as a monotherapy for recurrent vertigo of labyrinthine origin in a multinational, double-blind study with positive results. A moderate reduction of the impact of vertigo on quality of life (as assessed by the Dizziness Handicap Inventory) was obtained in patients after therapy with betahistine (p < 0.05), but a more significant effect was achieved in patients treated by combined therapy (p < 0.005). In the latter group, better control of vertigo was seen with a greater reduction of frequency of attacks (p < 0.005). Both protocols resulted in a significant improvement of static postural control, although a larger effect on body sway area in all tests was obtained by the fixed combination of drugs. In contrast, no beneficial effect on either tinnitus annoyance (as assessed by the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory) and hearing loss (pure-tone average at 0.5, 1, 2, 3 kHz frequencies of the affected ear) was recorded in patients treated with betahistine as monotherapy (p > 0.05), whereas the fixed combination of betahistine and nimodipine was associated with a significant reduction of tinnitus annoyance and improvement of hearing loss (p < 0.005). It was concluded that nimodipine represents not only a valid add-therapy for Ménière's disease, and that it may also exert a specific effect on inner ear disorders. Further studies to investigate this possibility are needed.
PMCID: PMC3552538  PMID: 23349559
Vertigo; Hearing loss; Tinnitus; Hydrops; Calcium channel blockers
11.  A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Actovegin in Patients with Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment: ARTEMIDA Study Design 
Background
No drug treatment to date has shown convincing clinical evidence of restoring cognitive function or preventing further decline after stroke. The ongoing ARTEMIDA study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of Actovegin for the symptomatic treatment of post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI) and will explore whether Actovegin has any disease-modifying effect by assessing whether any changes are sustained after treatment.
Design
ARTEMIDA is a 12-month, multicentre trial in patients (planned a total of 500, now recruited) with cognitive impairment following ischaemic stroke. The study consists of a baseline screening (≤7 days after stroke), after which eligible patients are randomised to Actovegin (2,000 mg/day for up to 20 intravenous infusions followed by 1,200 mg/day orally) or placebo for a 6-month double-blind treatment period. Patients will be followed up for a further 6 months, during which time they will be treated in accordance with standard clinical practice. The primary study endpoint is change from baseline in the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale, cognitive subscale, extended version. Secondary outcomes include: Montreal Cognitive Assessment; dementia diagnosis (ICD-10); National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale; Barthel Index; EQ-5D; Beck Depression Inventory, version II, and safety.
Conclusion
There is a clear need for effective treatments for PSCI. ARTEMIDA should provide important insights into the use of a novel drug therapy for PSCI.
doi:10.1159/000357122
PMCID: PMC3919431  PMID: 24516413
Stroke; Vascular dementia; Cognitive impairment; Pharmacotherapy; Actovegin

12.  A meta-analysis of Chinese herbal medicines for vascular dementia☆ 
Neural Regeneration Research  2013;8(18):1685-1692.
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicines in the treatment of patients with vascular dementia.
DATA RETRIEVAL:
We retrieved publications from Cochrane Library (2004 to July 2011), PubMed (1966 to July 2011), the Chinese Science and Technique Journals Database (1977 to July 2011), the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (1979 to July 2011), Google Scholar (July 2011), and the Chinese Biomedical Database (1977 to July 2011) using the key words “Chinese medicine OR Chinese herbal medicine” and “vascular dementia OR mild cognition impair OR multi-infarct dementia OR small-vessel dementia OR strategic infarct dementia OR hypoperfusion dementia OR hemorrhagic dementia OR hereditary vascular dementia“.
SELECTION CRITERIA:
Randomized controlled trials comparing Chinese herbal medicines with placebo/western medicine in the treatment of patients with vascular dementia were included. Diagnostic standards included Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Association Internationale pour la Recherché et l’Enseignement en Neurosciences. Two participants independently conducted literature screening, quality evaluation and data extraction. The quality of each trial was assessed according to the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook 5.0.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Effective rate, Mini-Mental State Examination scores, Hasegawa Dementia Scale scores, and incidence of adverse reactions.
RESULTS:
We identified 1 143 articles discussing the effects of Chinese medicine on vascular dementia. Thirty-one of these were included in the analysis. These studies involved a total of 2 868 participants (1 605 patients took Chinese medicine decoctions (treatment group); 1 263 patients took western medicine or placebo). The results of our meta-analysis revealed that Chinese herbal remedies in the treatment group were more efficacious than the control intervention (relative risk (RR) = 1.27; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18–1.38, P < 0.01). Mini-Mental State Examination scores were higher in patients taking Chinese herbal medicines than in those in the control group (weighted mean difference (WMD) = 2.83; 95%CI: 2.55–3.12, P < 0.01). Patients in the treatment group showed better disease amelioration than those in the control group (Hasegawa Dementia Scale scores; WMD = 2.41, 95%CI: 1.48–3.34, P < 0.01). There were also considerably fewer adverse reactions among those in the treatment group compared with those in the control group (RR = 0.20, 95%CI: 0.08–0.47, P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION:
Chinese herbal medicine appears to be safer and more effective than control measures in the treatment of vascular dementia. However, the included trials were generally low in quality. More well-designed, high-quality trials are needed to provide better evidence for the assessment of the efficacy and safety of Chinese medicines for vascular dementia.
doi:10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.18.006
PMCID: PMC4145917  PMID: 25206465
neural regeneration; Chinese herbal medicine; meta-analysis; vascular dementia; mild cognitive impairment; decoction; efficacy; Mini-Mental State Examination; Hasegawa Dementia Scale; adverse reaction; neurodegenerative disease; grants-supported paper; neuroregeneration
13.  Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Events in the Randomized, Controlled Alzheimer's Disease Anti-Inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT) 
PLoS Clinical Trials  2006;1(7):e33.
Objectives:
The Alzheimer's Disease Anti-inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT) was designed to evaluate the conventional NSAID naproxen sodium and the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib for primary prevention of Alzheimer's dementia (AD). On 17 December 2004, after the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) trial reported increased cardiovascular risks with celecoxib, the ADAPT Steering Committee suspended treatment and enrollment. This paper reports on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events in ADAPT.
Design:
ADAPT is a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel chemoprevention trial with 1–46 mo of follow-up.
Setting:
The trial was conducted at six field sites in the United States: Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Rochester, New York; Seattle, Washington; Sun City, Arizona; and Tampa, Florida.
Participants:
The 2,528 participants were aged 70 y and older with a family history of AD.
Interventions:
Study treatments were celecoxib (200 mg b.i.d.), naproxen sodium (220 mg b.i.d.), and placebo.
Outcome measures:
Outcome measures were deaths, along with nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, congestive heart failure (CHF), transient ischemic attack (TIA), and antihypertensive treatment recorded from structured interviews at scheduled intervals. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to analyze these events individually and in several composites.
Results:
Counts (with 3-y incidence) of participants who experienced cardiovascular or cerebrovascular death, MI, stroke, CHF, or TIA in the celecoxib-, naproxen-, and placebo-treated groups were 28/717 (5.54%), 40/713 (8.25%), and 37/1070 (5.68%), respectively. This yielded a hazard ratio (95% confidence interval [CI]) for celecoxib of 1.10 (0.67–1.79) and for naproxen of 1.63 (1.04–2.55). Antihypertensive treatment was initiated in 160/440 (47.43%), 147/427 (45.00%), and 164/644 (34.08%). This yielded hazard ratios (CIs) of 1.56 for celecoxib (1.26–1.94) and 1.40 for naproxen (1.12–1.75).
Conclusions:
For celecoxib, ADAPT data do not show the same level of risk as those of the APC trial. The data for naproxen, although not definitive, are suggestive of increased cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk.
Editorial Commentary
Background: Evidence from observational studies suggests that people taking certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are at lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, in order to reliably find out whether NSAIDs reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, it is important to perform a properly designed randomized trial. Such a trial, ADAPT, was sponsored by the United States National Institute on Aging, and the study started recruitment in 2001. The trial involved three treatment arms: naproxen (one type of NSAID), celecoxib (another type of NSAID, but one that specifically inhibits an enzyme called COX-2), and placebo, acting as a control. It was planned that 2,625 participants would be recruited and that the primary outcome of interest was incidence of Alzheimer's disease in the three treatment arms; the trial would run for 7 y. However, this trial was terminated early, a decision based in part on information from other studies that demonstrated an increased risk of certain harms, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people taking celecoxib and other types of COX-2 inhibitors. Therefore meaningful data were not available at the time on the study's primary outcome (prevention of Alzheimer's disease). However, data about the chance of these harms are available from the ADAPT results, and these results are presented here.
What this trial shows: The investigators compared frequency of particular types of harm in the treatment arms: heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure (CHF), and transient ischemic attack (TIA). For each individual type of event, some were more likely in people treated with celecoxib compared with placebo, but others were not. When considering people taking naproxen, all four types of adverse events were more likely to occur in the treatment group as compared to placebo. The investigators then combined data from all four types of harm together, and here they found that the overall risk in people taking celecoxib was higher than for people taking placebo, but that this was not statistically significant, so it could have been due to chance alone. When considering naproxen as compared with placebo, the researchers saw an approximately 60% increase in risk for all four harms combined, and this result was statistically significant. The death rate in people taking either celecoxib or naproxen was higher than for those taking placebo, but this was not statistically significant, and therefore could have been due to chance.
Strengths and limitations: Strengths of this study include the randomization procedures, which used a distributed computer system to assign patients to treatment arms (minimizing the chance of bias), blinding of patients to their treatment assignment, and blinding of the committee reviewing deaths and safety reports to treatment assignment. One limitation is that although the trial was large and appropriately powered for the main outcome (prevention of Alzheimer's disease), the number of safety events reported here were small and the trial was not primarily designed to examine safety. Further, participants eligible to join this trial were required to have a family history of Alzheimer's disease, so it is possible that their risk factors are slightly different from the general population.
Contribution to the evidence: The cardiovascular safety of NSAID's, including COX-2 inhibitors, is an intensely debated topic. Very few published data exist on the long-term safety of celecoxib as compared with placebo, although there are a number of as-yet-unpublished studies. These data on harms provided by ADAPT provide important results that should be incorporated into future meta-analyses. Such meta-analyses will give a more rigorous and reliable assessment of the safety of the drugs studied here.
doi:10.1371/journal.pctr.0010033
PMCID: PMC1851724  PMID: 17111043
14.  Hot spots and future directions of research on the neuroprotective effects of nimodipine 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(21):1933-1938.
Calcium antagonists are widely used in the clinical treatment of ischemic cerebrovascular disease because of their vascular and neuroprotective effects. Nimodipine, a typical calcium antagonist, can cross the blood-brain barrier and act selectively at neurons and blood vessels of target tissues, thus exerting neuroprotective effects. The aim of the present study was to explore the hot spots and future trends of research on the neuroprotective effects of nimodipine. We retrieved 425 articles on the neuroprotective effects of nimodipine that were indexed in the Web of the Science database between 2000 and 2014. The retrieved articles were analyzed using document analysis reporting and the derived information function in the Web of Science, and the information visualization software CiteSpace III. The reference co-citation network was plotted, and the high frequency key words in these publications were used to analyze the research fronts and development trends for nimodipine neuroprotection. According to these co-citation clusters, the research front of nimodipine neuroprotection is the use of randomized controlled trials to study nimodipine intervention of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Using time zone view analysis on hot spots labeled with a key word, the areas of interest in the field of nimodipine neuroprotection are nimodipine pharmacology and therapeutics, blood-brain barrier, trials, and anti-angiospasm.
doi:10.4103/1673-5374.145365
PMCID: PMC4281435  PMID: 25558246
neuroprotection; nerve regeneration; nimodipine; ischemic cerebrovascular disease; Web of Science; CiteSpace; research fronts; development trends; scientific mapping; visualization
15.  Ginkgo biloba for Prevention of Dementia: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Context
Ginkgo biloba is widely used for its potential effects on memory and cognition. To date, adequately powered clinical trials testing the effect of G biloba on dementia incidence are lacking.
Objective
To determine effectiveness of G biloba vs placebo in reducing the incidence of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) in elderly individuals with normal cognition and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Design, Setting, and Participants
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in 5 academic medical centers in the United States between 2000 and 2008 with a median follow-up of 6.1 years. Three thousand sixty-nine community volunteers aged 75 years or older with normal cognition (n=2587) or MCI (n=482) at study entry were assessed every 6 months for incident dementia.
Intervention
Twice-daily dose of 120-mg extract of G biloba (n=1545) or placebo (n=1524).
Main Outcome Measures
Incident dementia and AD determined by expert panel consensus.
Results
Five hundred twenty-three individuals developed dementia (246 receiving placebo and 277 receiving G biloba) with 92% of the dementia cases classified as possible or probable AD, or AD with evidence of vascular disease of the brain. Rates of dropout and loss to follow-up were low (6.3%), and the adverse effect profiles were similar for both groups. The overall dementia rate was 3.3 per 100 person-years in participants assigned to G biloba and 2.9 per 100 person-years in the placebo group. The hazard ratio (HR) for G biloba compared with placebo for all-cause dementia was 1.12 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94–1.33; P=.21) and for AD, 1.16 (95% CI, 0.97–1.39; P=.11). G biloba also had no effect on the rate of progression to dementia in participants with MCI (HR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.85–1.50; P=.39).
Conclusions
In this study, G biloba at 120 mg twice a day was not effective in reducing either the overall incidence rate of dementia or AD incidence in elderly individuals with normal cognition or those with MCI.
doi:10.1001/jama.2008.683
PMCID: PMC2823569  PMID: 19017911
16.  The Association between Hypertension and Dementia in the Elderly 
Hypertension (HT) and dementia are common disorders in the elderly. HT in the elderly is associated with increased occurrence rates of dementia including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD). In connection to this, some studies have suggested that HT in old age correlates with the pathogenesis of dementia. Since HT is potentially reversible, a number of randomized trials have examined whether antihypertensive treatment may help in preventing dementia occurrence. We review five studies, all using subjects 60 years or older, which investigated different antihypertensive pharmacological treatments. Data from two trials (Syst-Eur, PROGRESS) open the way toward the prevention of dementia (AD or VaD) by antihypertensive treatments. In the Syst-Eur study, with the dihydropyridine calcium antagonists, a reduction in both types of dementia was demonstrated (risk reduction 55%). The PROGRESS study showed that the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), with or without diuretics, resulted in decrease incidence of stroke-related dementia (risk reduction 19%), but dementia without stroke was not reduced. In contrast, the SHEP trial, treatment with a chlorthalidone-based antihypertensive regimen, did not significantly reduced the incidence of dementia. The SCOPE study (candesartan or hydrochlorothiazide versus placebo) and the HYVET-COG study (indapamide or perindopril versus placebo) found no significant difference between the active treatment and placebo group on the incidence of dementia. We found conflicting results regarding treatment benefits in dementia prevention. Recent clinical trials and studies on animal models suggest that blockades of RAS system could have reduced cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Future trials primarily designed to investigate the effects of antihypertensive agents on impaired cognition are needed.
doi:10.1155/2012/320648
PMCID: PMC3216296  PMID: 22121477
17.  Epidemiological Pathology of Dementia: Attributable-Risks at Death in the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(11):e1000180.
Researchers from the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Neuropathology Study carry out an analysis of brain pathologies contributing to dementia, within a cohort of elderly individuals in the UK who agreed to brain donation.
Background
Dementia drug development aims to modulate pathological processes that cause clinical syndromes. Population data (epidemiological neuropathology) will help to model and predict the potential impact of such therapies on dementia burden in older people. Presently this can only be explored through post mortem findings. We report the attributable risks (ARs) for dementia at death for common age-related degenerative and vascular pathologies, and other factors, in the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS).
Methods and Findings
A multicentre, prospective, longitudinal study of older people in the UK was linked to a brain donation programme. Neuropathology of 456 consecutive brain donations assessed degenerative and vascular pathologies. Logistic regression modelling, with bootstrapping and sensitivity analyses, was used to estimate AR at death for dementia for specific pathologies and other factors. The main contributors to AR at death for dementia in MRC CFAS were age (18%), small brain (12%), neocortical neuritic plaques (8%) and neurofibrillary tangles (11%), small vessel disease (12%), multiple vascular pathologies (9%), and hippocampal atrophy (10%). Other significant factors include cerebral amyloid angiopathy (7%) and Lewy bodies (3%).
Conclusions
Such AR estimates cannot be derived from the living population; rather they estimate the relative contribution of specific pathologies to dementia at death. We found that multiple pathologies determine the overall burden of dementia. The impact of therapy targeted to a specific pathology may be profound when the dementia is relatively “pure,” but may be less impressive for the majority with mixed disease, and in terms of the population. These data justify a range of strategies, and combination therapies, to combat the degenerative and vascular determinants of cognitive decline and dementia.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Losing one's belongings and forgetting people's names is often a normal part of aging. But increasing forgetfulness can also be a sign of dementia, a group of symptoms caused by several disorders that affect the structure of the brain. The commonest form of dementia is Alzheimer disease. In this, protein clumps called plaques and neurofibrillary tangles form in the brain and cause its degeneration. Vascular dementia, in which problems with blood circulation deprive parts of the brain of oxygen, is also common. People with dementia have problems with two or more “cognitive” functions—thinking, language, memory, understanding, and judgment. As the disease progresses, they gradually lose their ability to deal with normal daily activities until they need total care, their personality often changes, and they may become agitated or aggressive. Dementia is rare before the age of 65 years but about a quarter of people over 85 years old have dementia. Because more people live to a ripe old age these days, the number of people with dementia is increasing. According to the latest estimates, about 35 million people now have dementia and by 2050, 115 million may have the disorder.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is no cure for dementia but many drugs designed to modulate specific abnormal (pathological) changes in the brain that can cause the symptoms of dementia are being developed. To assess the likely impact of these potentially expensive new therapies, experts need to know what proportion of dementia is associated with each type of brain pathology. Although some brain changes can be detected in living brains with techniques such as computed tomography brain scans, most brain changes can only be studied in brains taken from people after death (post mortem brains). In this study, which is part of the UK Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS), the researchers look for associations between dementia in elderly people and pathological changes in their post mortem brains and estimate the attributable-risk (AR) for dementia at death associated with specific pathological features in the brain. That is, they estimate the proportion of dementia directly attributable to each type of pathology.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Nearly 20 years ago, the MRC CFAS interviewed more than 18,000 people aged 65 years or older recruited at six sites in England and Wales to determine their cognitive function and their ability to deal with daily activities. 20% of the participants, which included people with and without cognitive impairment, were then assessed in more detail and invited to donate their brains for post mortem examination. As of 2004, 456 individuals had donated their brains. The dementia status of these donors was established using data from their assessment interviews and death certificates, and from interviews with relatives and carers, and their brains were carefully examined for abnormal changes. The researchers then used statistical methods to estimate the AR for dementia at death associated with various abnormal brain changes. The main contributors to AR for dementia at death included age (18% of dementia at death was attributable to this factor), plaques (8%), and neurofibrillary tangles (11%) in a brain region called the neocortex, small blood vessel disease (12%), and multiple abnormal changes in blood vessels (9%).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that multiple abnormal brain changes determine the overall burden of dementia. Importantly, they also suggest that dementia is often associated with mixed pathological changes—many people with dementia had brain changes consistent with both Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. Because people with dementia live for variable lengths of time during which the abnormal changes in their brain are likely to alter, it may be difficult to extrapolate these findings to living populations of elderly people. Furthermore, only a small percentage of the MRC CFAS participants have donated their brains so the findings of this study may not apply to the general population. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the new therapies currently under development may do little to reduce the overall burden of dementia because most people's dementia involves multiple pathologies. Consequently, it may be necessary to develop a range of strategies and combination therapies to deal with the ongoing dementia epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000180.
The US National Institute on Aging provides information for patients and carers about forgetfulness and about Alzheimer disease (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about dementia (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site also provides detailed information for patients and their carers about dementia and about Alzheimer disease
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about dementia and Alzheimer disease (in English and Spanish)
More information about the UK Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS) is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000180
PMCID: PMC2765638  PMID: 19901977
18.  Effects of galantamine in a 2-year, randomized, placebo-controlled study in Alzheimer’s disease 
Background
Currently available treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can produce mild improvements in cognitive function, behavior, and activities of daily living in patients, but their influence on long-term survival is not well established. This study was designed to assess patient survival and drug efficacy following a 2-year galantamine treatment in patients with mild to moderately severe AD.
Methods
In this multicenter, double-blind study, patients were randomized 1:1 to receive galantamine or placebo. One primary end point was safety; mortality was assessed. An independent Data Safety Monitoring Board monitored mortality for the total deaths reaching prespecified numbers, using a time-to-event method and a Cox-regression model. The primary efficacy end point was cognitive change from baseline to month 24, as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score, analyzed using intent-to-treat analysis with the ‘last observation carried forward’ approach, in an analysis of covariance model.
Results
In all, 1,024 galantamine- and 1,021 placebo-treated patients received study drug, with mean age ~73 years, and mean (standard deviation [SD]) baseline MMSE score of 19 (4.08). A total of 32% of patients (661/2,045) completed the study, 27% (554/2,045) withdrew, and 41% (830/2,045) did not complete the study and were discontinued due to a Data Safety Monitoring Board-recommended early study termination. The mortality rate was significantly lower in the galantamine group versus placebo (hazard ratio [HR] =0.58; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.37; 0.89) (P=0.011). Cognitive impairment, based on the mean (SD) change in MMSE scores from baseline to month 24, significantly worsened in the placebo (−2.14 [4.34]) compared with the galantamine group (−1.41 [4.05]) (P<0.001). Functional impairment, based on mean (SD) change in the Disability Assessment in Dementia score (secondary end point), at month 24 significantly worsened in the placebo (−10.81 [18.27]) versus the galantamine group (−8.16 [17.25]) (P=0.002). Incidences of treatment-emergent adverse events were 54.0% for the galantamine and 48.6% for the placebo group.
Conclusion
Long-term treatment with galantamine significantly reduced mortality and the decline in cognition and daily living activities, in mild to moderate AD patients.
Identification
This study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00679627).
doi:10.2147/NDT.S57909
PMCID: PMC3937252  PMID: 24591834
cholinesterase inhibitors; cognition; long-term treatment; mortality; nicotinic
19.  Dementia 
Clinical Evidence  2012;2012:1001.
Introduction
Dementia is characterised by chronic, global, non-reversible deterioration in memory, executive function, and personality. Speech and motor function may also be impaired.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments on cognitive symptoms of dementia (Alzheimer's, Lewy body, or vascular)? What are the effects of treatments on behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (Alzheimer's, Lewy body, or vascular)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to July 2011 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 49 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine), antidepressants (clomipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, sertraline), antipsychotics (haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone), aromatherapy, benzodiazepines (diazepam, lorazepam), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), cognitive stimulation, exercise, ginkgo biloba, memantine, mood stabilisers (carbamazepine, sodium valproate/valproic acid), music therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), omega 3 (fish oil), reminiscence therapy, and statins.
Key Points
Dementia is characterised by chronic, global, non-reversible deterioration in memory, executive function, and personality. Speech and motor function may also be impaired.
Median life expectancy for people with Alzheimer's and Lewy body dementia is about 6 years after diagnosis, although many people may live far longer.
RCTs of dementia are often not representative of all people with dementia; most are of 6 months' duration or less, not in primary care, and in people with Alzheimer's disease. Few RCTs address vascular dementia, and fewer still Lewy body dementia.
Some cognitive symptoms of dementia may be improved by acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine). Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may improve cognitive function and global function scores compared with placebo at 12 to 26 weeks in people with Alzheimer's disease. However, they may be associated with an increase in adverse effects, particularly GI symptoms (anorexia, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea).
We don't know whether cognitive stimulation, music therapy, reminiscence therapy, omega 3 fish oil, statins, or NSAIDs are effective at improving cognitive outcomes in people with cognitive symptoms of dementia, as we found insufficient evidence.
In people with cognitive symptoms, memantine may modestly improve cognitive function and global function scores in people with Alzheimer's disease over 24 to 28 weeks, and may modestly improve activities of daily living scores in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. Although memantine is associated with a statistically significant increase in cognition scores in some population groups, the clinical importance of some of these results is unclear.
We found inconsistent evidence on the effects of ginkgo biloba on cognitive outcomes, which varied by the analysis performed. We found no evidence that ginkgo biloba improves activities of daily living outcomes, but the available evidence was weak.
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may marginally improve neuropsychiatric symptoms compared with placebo in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, but they are also associated with adverse effects.
We don't know whether antidepressants (clomipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, sertraline) improve depressive symptoms in people with Alzheimer's disease associated with depression. Many RCTs were small and short term, and adverse effects were sparsely reported.
Memantine may be associated with a small improvement in neuropsychiatric symptoms compared with placebo in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, but it is also associated with adverse effects.
We don't know whether diazepam, lorazepam, aromatherapy, CBT, exercise, carbamazepine, or sodium valproate/valproic acid are effective at improving neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, as we found insufficient evidence.
Some antipsychotics may improve neuropsychiatric symptoms or aggression in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, but antipsychotics are also associated with an increased risk of severe adverse events such as stroke, TIA, or death.
CAUTION: Regulatory bodies have issued alerts that both conventional and atypical antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of death in older people treated for dementia-related psychosis.
PMCID: PMC3437526  PMID: 23870856
20.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
21.  Prevention of Decline in Cognition after Stroke Trial (PODCAST): a study protocol for a factorial randomised controlled trial of intensive versus guideline lowering of blood pressure and lipids 
Trials  2013;14:401.
Background
Stroke is a common cause of cognitive impairment and dementia. However, effective strategies for reducing the risk of post-stroke dementia remain undefined. Potential strategies include intensive lowering of blood pressure and/or lipids.
Methods/Design
Design: multi-centre prospective randomised open-label blinded-endpoint controlled partial-factorial phase IV trial in secondary and primary care.
Participants: 100 participants from 30 UK Stroke Research Network sites who are post- ischemic stroke or intracerebral haemorrhage by three to seven months.
Interventions - all patients (1:1): intensive versus guideline blood pressure lowering (target systolic < 125 mmHg versus < 140 mmHg).
Interventions - ischemic stroke (1:1): intensive versus guideline lipid lowering (target low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) < 1.4 mmol/l versus < 3 mmol/l).
Hypotheses: does ‘intensive’ blood pressure lowering therapy and/or ‘intensive’ lipid control reduce cognitive decline and dementia in people with ischemic stroke; and does ‘intensive’ blood pressure lowering therapy reduce cognitive decline and dementia in patients with hemorrhagic stroke.
Primary outcome: Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-Revised.
Secondary outcomes: feasibility of recruitment and retention of participants, tolerability and safety of the interventions, achieving and maintaining the blood pressure and lipid targets, maintaining differences in systolic blood pressure (> 10 mmHg) and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (> 1 mmol/l) between the treatment groups, and performing clinic and telephone follow-up of cognition measures.
Randomisation: using stratification, minimization and simple randomization.
Blinding: participants receive open-label management. Cognition is assessed both unblinded (in clinic) and blinded (by telephone) to treatment. Adjudication of events (dementia, vascular, serious adverse events) is blinded to management.
Discussion
The PODCAST trial is ongoing with 78 patients recruited to date from 22 sites. Outcomes of cognitive impairment and dementia are accruing.
Trial registration
ISRCTN85562386
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-401
PMCID: PMC4222827  PMID: 24266960
Stroke; Post-stroke cognitive impairment; Post-stroke dementia; Blood pressure lowering; Lipid lowering
22.  Nimodipine, a calcium channel blocker, delays the spontaneous LH surge in women with regular menstrual cycles: a prospective pilot study 
Background
Currently GnRH analogue injections are used to prevent premature LH surges in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology. This was a pilot study to determine the safety and effectiveness of nimodipine, an oral calcium channel blocker, to delay the mid-cycle spontaneous LH surge in women with regular menstrual cycles.
Methods
Eight women with regular menstrual cycles self-monitored three consecutive cycles for the day of an LH surge by daily urine assay. The first and third cycles were observatory. In the second cycle, subjects took nimodipine 60 mg by mouth three times daily for four days, starting two days prior to the expected LH surge day based on cycle one.
Results
The LH surge day in cycle 2 (nimodipine) was significantly delayed in comparison to both observatory cycle 1 (15.5+/−3.4 vs 14.0+/−2.8 days; p = 0.033) and cycle 3 (15.1+/−3.5 vs 13.1+/−2.4 days; p = 0.044). There was no difference in the LH surge day between the two observatory cycles (13.4+/−2.4 vs 13.1+/−2.4 days; p = 0.457). Three patients experienced a mild headache.
Conclusions
There was a statistically significant delay in the spontaneous LH surge day in the treatment cycle in comparison to both observatory cycles. Nimopidine should be further investigated as an oral alternative to delay a spontaneous LH surge.
doi:10.1186/1477-7827-11-7
PMCID: PMC3579695  PMID: 23391256
Premature LH surge; In-vitro fertilization (IVF); GnRH agonist; GnRH antagonist; Calcium channel blocker; Nimodipine
23.  Dietary Nimodipine Delays the Onset of Methylmercury Neurotoxicity in Mice 
Neurotoxicology  2013;0:108-117.
Adult-onset exposure is thought to result primarily in sensory and motor deficits but effects on learning are poorly understood. One mechanism by which chronic MeHg may exert its neurotoxicity is via sustained disruption of intracellular calcium homeostasis, with a consequent increase of intracellular Ca2+ ions in vulnerable neurons. A biochemically heterogeneous group of compounds, calcium channel blockers, have been shown in vitro to attenuate MeHg’s toxicity. To evaluate the role of calcium antagonism in MeHg toxicity in vivo, adult BALB/c mice were exposed chronically to 0 or 15 ppm of Hg (as MeHg) via drinking water and to nimodipine, a dihydropryidine, L-type Ca2+ channel blocker with action in the CNS. Nimodipine was administered orally in diets (0, 20, or 200 ppm, producing approximately 0, 2, or 20 mg/kg/day of nimodipine). An incremental repeated acquisition (IRA) of response chains procedure was used to detect MeHg-induced deficits in learning or motoric function and to evaluate possible neuroprotection by nimodipine. MeHg impaired performance on the IRA task, and this was partially or completely blocked by dietary nimodipine, depending on dose. Measures of learning co-varied with measures of motoric function as indicated by overall response rate. Nimodipine delayed or prevented the behavioral toxicity of MeHg exposure as evidenced by IRA performance; effects on learning seemed secondary to response rate decreases.
doi:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.03.011
PMCID: PMC3696396  PMID: 23583802
24.  Efficacy and safety of rivastigmine in patients with Alzheimer’s disease: international randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;318(7184):633-640.
Objectives
To assess the effects of rivastigmine on the core domains of Alzheimer’s disease.
Design
Prospective, randomised, multicentre, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group trial. Patients received either placebo, 1-4 mg/day (lower dose) rivastigmine, or 6-12 mg/day (higher dose) rivastigmine. Doses were increased in one of two fixed dose ranges (1-4 mg/day or 6-12 mg/day) over the first 12 weeks with a subsequent assessment period of 14 weeks.
Setting
45 centres in Europe and North America.
Participants
725 patients with mild to moderately severe probable Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, and the criteria of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association.
Outcome measures
Cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale, rating on the clinician interview based impression of change incorporating caregiver information scale, and the progressive deterioration scale.
Results
At the end of the study cognitive function had deteriorated among those in the placebo group. Scores on the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale improved in patients in the higher dose group when compared with patients taking placebo (P<0.05). Significantly more patients in the higher dose group had improved by 4 points or more than had improved in the placebo group (24% (57/242) v 16% (39/238)). Global function as rated by the clinician interview scale had significantly improved among those in the higher dose group compared with those taking placebo (P<0.001), and significantly more patients in the higher dose group showed improvement than did in the placebo group (37% (80/219) v 20% (46/230)). Mean scores on the progressive deterioration scale improved from baseline in patients in the higher dose group but fell in the placebo group. Adverse events were predominantly gastrointestinal, of mild to moderate severity, transient, and occurred mainly during escalation of the dose. 23% (55/242) of those in the higher dose group, 7% (18/242) of those in the lower dose group, and 7% (16/239) of those in the placebo group discontinued treatment because of adverse events.
Conclusions
Rivastigmine is well tolerated and effective. It improves cognition, participation in activities of daily living, and global evaluation ratings in patients with mild to moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first treatment to show compelling evidence of efficacy in a predominantly European population.
Key messagesIn a 6 month trial rivastigmine was effective in treating the core cognitive and functional symptoms of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s diseaseRivastigmine at doses of 6-12 mg/day produces clinically relevant and statistically significant improvements in cognitive and global assessments, and in activities of daily livingThe effects of rivastigmine are dose dependentRivastigmine was well tolerated in this population of elderly patients
PMCID: PMC27767  PMID: 10066203
25.  A randomized placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba for the prevention of cognitive decline 
Neurology  2008;70(19 Pt 2):1809-1817.
Objective
To assess the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) on delaying the progression to cognitive impairment in normal elderly aged 85 and older.
Methods
Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, 42-month pilot study with 118 cognitively intact subjects randomized to standardized GBE or placebo. Kaplan-Meier estimation, Cox proportional hazard, and random-effects models were used to compare the risk of progression from Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) = 0 to CDR = 0.5 and decline in episodic memory function between GBE and placebo groups.
Results
In the intention-to-treat analysis, there was no reduced risk of progression to CDR = 0.5 (log-rank test, p = 0.06) among the GBE group. There was no less of a decline in memory function among the GBE group (p = 0.05). In the secondary analysis, where we controlled the medication adherence level, the GBE group had a lower risk of progression from CDR = 0 to CDR = 0.5 (HR = 0.33, p = 0.02), and a smaller decline in memory scores (p = 0.04). There were more ischemic strokes and TIAs in the GBE group (p = 0.01).
Conclusions
In unadjusted analyses, Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) neither altered the risk of progression from normal to Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) = 0.5, nor protected against a decline in memory function. Secondary analysis taking into account medication adherence showed a protective effect of GBE on the progression to CDR = 0.5 and memory decline. Results of larger prevention trials taking into account medication adherence may clarify the effectiveness of GBE. More stroke and TIA cases observed among the GBE group requires further study to confirm.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000303814.13509.db
PMCID: PMC2639649  PMID: 18305231

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