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Indian J Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;51(1):12-25. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.44900.

The prevention and treatment of cognitive decline and dementia: An overview of recent research on experimental treatments.

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  • 1Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore - 560 029, India.


The prevention and treatment of cognitive impairment in the elderly has assumed increasing importance in an aging population. This article presents a qualitative review of recent research on experimental interventions for the prevention and treatment of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease in elderly subjects. Interventions addressed range from lifestyle measures to pharmacological treatments. Epidemiological studies suggest that dietary measures, physical exercise, and mental activity may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease in elderly subjects. Statins may protect against incident dementia, and lithium may convey similar benefits to bipolar patients. Ginkgo appears ineffective as a primary preventive measure. Donepezil but not Vitamin E may benefit persons with mild cognitive impairment. Experimental treatments potentially useful for Alzheimer's disease include dimebon, PBT2 and etanercept; the safety and efficacy of the Alzheimer's vaccine remains to be proven, and growth hormone secretagogue and tarenflurbil are likely ineffective. Herbal treatments merit study in elderly subjects with cognitive syndromes.


Alzheimer's disease; Mild cognitive impairment; cognition; dementia; elderly

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