Saturday Mar 19, 2022
Shanquan Chen, from the University of Cambridge’s department of psychiatry, in his recent study, suggested that lithium could be a potential preventer of dementia, reported Metro News.
Dementia is one of the leading causes of death in the elderly. Around 55 million people have dementia globally, Alzheimer's being the most common form, and there is no preventive treatment for it currently.
"The number of people with dementia continues to grow, which puts huge pressure on healthcare systems," said Chen.
While stressing the importance of finding its cure he added that if we can delay the age at which people usually catch dementia by just five years, its positive impact can reach up to 40%.
"Delaying the onset of dementia by just five years could reduce its prevalence and economic impact by as much as 40%," he said.
The potential of lithium as a preventer was tested by analysing health records of 30,000 above-50 patients from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Of the 29,618 patients, 548 patients had been treated with lithium.
The study concluded that patients who received lithium were less likely to develop dementia than those who did not receive it.
However, the reason why this study has not proven lithium's effectiveness is that the sample size and the people who were tested with the element were very small in size.
While this study encourages further large-scale testing and gives hope that dementia can be prevented, it is not enough to release the element as a preventer in the market yet.