Researchers have found that certain medications used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can help deal with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. In a new study, researchers analyzed how noradrenergic drugs, used in ADHD patients, could also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. These drugs tend to target the noradrenergic system that has the locus coeruleus, a small part of the brain stem.
This region is responsible for various functions including learning, attention, and memory. It is controlled by a neurotransmitter called noradrenaline, which is a special type of brain cell that sends and receives messages in the brain. It is also involved in our body’s “fight or flight response”.
Besides Alzheimer’s disease, other diseases such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety also lead to problems with the functions of the noradrenergic system. Therefore, noradrenergic treatments are also prescribed for these diseases.
Give research, the researchers examined 19 studies and scanned the data of more than 1,800 patients. They also explore different medications such as those used for ADHD and depression. They found that the drugs helped improve the thinking and understanding of people with Alzheimer’s disease. But, they were not effective in improving the performance of specific memory functions, executive function, visual-spatial ability, or excitability.
The drugs turned out to be beneficial in improving a lack of interest, a symptom common in people with Alzheimer’s disease and which can affect their quality of life and brain function. Aside from ADHD medications, Ritalin works most effectively to improve a lack of interest in Alzheimer’s patients.
The study concluded that noradrenergic drugs can be used to treat symptoms in some patients with Alzheimer’s disease as long as the correct dosage is used. However, while the drugs can prove helpful in improving brain function, their use can lead to some side effects such as addiction, heart problems. In addition, when these drugs are abused, they can cause brain changes or psychiatric symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.