If you’ve got mild cognitive impairment, you’re the one who’s supposed to be battling memory loss.
But it turns out your DOCTOR is the one who’s prone to FORGETTING!
Docs across the nation are routinely prescribing the powerful Alzheimer’s drug donepezil (a.k.a. Aricept) for folks with mild cognitive impairment.
They’re clearly FORGETTING that the FDA already had a chance to approve this med for the condition… and specifically passed on it.
They also must’ve forgotten that the world-respected Cochrane researchers BLASTED docs for dishing out this drug for MCI, since it does little to nothing for most folks and packs serious risks.
Now, the latest research shows how all that FORGETTING is coming with a huge price. This new study reveals how this medication can SPEED the decline and make the condition WORSE in some patients!
Here’s what makes me so darned angry: Folks with MCI in most cases just need to be left the heck alone.
They might have some frustrating brain burps, but they’re not doomed to anything worse than misplacing the keys and forgetting birthdays, in most cases.
One study a few years back found that nearly 70 percent of MCI patients DIDN’T develop Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia more than a FULL DECADE later.
And in some lucky ducks, MCI actually reverses itself, entirely on its own.
But if you’ve got MCI and your doc puts you on this off-label drug, all bets are off… because the study finds folks with a certain genetic mutation end up suffering a QUICKER decline as measured on two major cognitive tests.
The mutation is called “BChE-K,” and it’s not clear how many folks are walking around with it. But if early studies are any indication, it could be more common than chopsticks in China.
A study on heart patients found that 41.3 percent of patients with early-onset cardiovascular disease and 31 percent with the late-onset version had the mutation, and that it was common in men and women alike.
That’s potentially MILLIONS — maybe TENS of MILLIONS — with this mutation, and almost none of them know they have it.
The researchers suggest that docs test for BChE-K before prescribing the Alzheimer’s drug.
But who are we kidding here?
Even without the mutation, the med’s a crummy idea for MCI. The Cochrane researchers I mentioned earlier? They said any benefits “are minor, short lived and associated with significant side effects.”
That’s hardly a ringing endorsement.
There’s a simpler solution for MCI. A study last year found that folks with the condition who are given the omega-3 fatty acid DHA can do rings around everyone else on memory and IQ tests, and they have less of the “brain shrink” that often marks the onset of cognitive decline.