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Drug hope for Alzheimer's patients

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Thousands of patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease could benefit from drugs, research suggests.

A study in the the New England Journal of Medicine found that patients who stayed on the dementia drug Aricept had a slower decline in their memory.

Angela Clayton-Turner, whose husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 16 years ago, described how the drug appeared to allow them nine or 10 years "where life was OK".

Her husband had now been taken off the drug as his condition had deteriorated. "The end stages are pretty awful," she said. "I know this was the stage he was dreading."

Dr Clare Gerada of the Royal College of General Practitioners said that any drug that improved the quality of life of people with the disease was a good thing.

Medicine regulator NICE is a "sensible organisation", she said, and "if the evidence is robust", it will recommend the use of Alzheimer's drugs in severe cases.

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