Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 19:36 UK

Praise for new Alzheimer's drug

People affected by Alzheimer's have described the difference a new drug treatment called rember is making to their lives.

Ian and Sandra Sutherland
Ian Sutherland's wife Sandra was diagnosed in 2005
Sandra Sutherland had been finding it difficult to focus on her accounts job for several years when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

The 61-year-old was diagnosed with the disease in 2005 during investigations for another medical condition.

Mrs Sutherland, who lives with her husband Ian and two sons in the west end of Aberdeen and is now retired, said: "When I was diagnosed I was absolutely gobsmacked.

"I tell everyone that I meet that I have Alzheimer's, and they can't believe it."

Mrs Sutherland, who enjoys crosswords and gardening, started on a trial of new drug rember two years ago and believes the medication has helped her.

She said: "Since I've been on the trial I feel more confident, more positive. I think my concentration has levelled off and not got any worse."

Her husband said: "Sandra still has days when she is not great, but there has been no decline in the mini mental tests she has had to do as part of the trial, so it would appear that the medication is working."

Suffered blanks

Jimmy Hardie, 72, used to mistakenly put sugar in the fridge and suffered mood swings.

Dorothy and Jimmy Hardie
Jimmy Hardie used to mistakenly put sugar in the fridge

He and his wife Dorothy, a 69-year-old former nurse, live in Boddam, near Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

The couple have two children and five grandchildren who all live in the local area.

Mr Hardie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2005, after episodes where he suffered "blanks" and could not remember what he was going to do.

He started on the rember trial in 2006. He runs a trout fishery, is an enthusiastic handyman and loves his shed.

He and his wife believe the treatment has helped him gain confidence.

Mr Hardie, who worked at the nearby power station for 14 years, said: "I feel the treatment has helped me. Having a lot of friends and hobbies has also been a great help."

'More alert'

His wife said: "Two years ago if Jimmy had gone to his shed he may have forgotten what he was about to do.

"Now he is able to plan what he wants to do, go and get the tools he needs and do the task. It is encouraging."

George and Helen Carle
Helen Carle was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2003

Mother-of-two and grandmother-of-five Helen Carle was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003 after becoming forgetful and panicky.

The 68-year-old was so anxious she did not like letting her husband, George, out of her sight.

The couple live in Cove, near Aberdeen, and believe Mrs Carle's trial on rember, which she began three years ago, has helped improve her mental state.

The former department store assistant, who enjoys reading murder mystery books, said: "I am still forgetful sometimes but who isn't?

"George has maybe caught the tea before it has burned or has had to turn off the bath taps, but really I think I'm pretty good.

"I still have the same personality and I think I am more alert."

Mr Carle said: "She is just as jolly as ever."

Quicker dementia diagnosis call
29 May 08 |  Health

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