London: A cocktail of cheap drugs can help prevent millions from suffering the agony of Alzheimer`s disease, British scientists have claimed.
Researchers at the University of Dundee in Scotland found that a cheap diabetes drug taken with a red wine works like a `miracle pill` to prevent the onset of the brain disease that affects memory and thinking power.
Costing only pennies a day, the researchers said, the two-in-one cocktail could keep the brain healthy into old age, stopping dementia developing in some cases and halting it in
others, the Daily Mail reported.
With the pills already credited with a host of health-boosting qualities, including potentially extending life, the Dundee University breakthrough brings hope of a
brighter future for millions. Alzheimer`s and other forms of dementia affect more than 800,000 people in Britain alone.
The latest breakthrough centres on drugs called metformin and resveratrol.
Metformin has been safely used for more than 50 years to control blood sugar levels in age and obesity-related diabetes. Recent research suggests it has other benefits, including the ability to extend life.
Resveratrol, the `miracle ingredient` behind many of red wine`s health-boosting qualities, has also been hailed as an elixir of life, with experiments crediting it with warding off a host of ills, from old age to cancer.
The Dundee researchers showed that metformin interferes with the formation of toxic `tangles` of a protein called tau that clog the brain in Alzheimer`s, leading to the destruction of memory cells.
Resveratrol has a similar protective effect and taken together, the two could have the power to hold Alzheimer`s at bay, said Professor Susann Schweiger, who led the study.
"The best hope is that it would stop it," she added.
The new study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.