A Glasgow-based medical research company is leading a worldwide sleep study which could radically reduce the symptoms associated with dementia.

The groundbreaking trial, conducted by CPS Research, is the first of its kind to investigate the use of sleep hormone melatonin as an add on treatment for dementia. The study is already showing remarkable initial results in volunteers from Scotland.

Melatonin is the natural hormone produced at night to prepare the body for sleep and produced throughout the night to maintain sleep. Older people with dementia often experience difficulties sleeping. Disturbance during the night is frequently the final problem that drives relatives to seek admission to care - a distressing outcome for the patient and their relatives and friends.

Older people produce less melatonin, and researchers with CPS Research observed that patients with dementia in particular produce very little melatonin. Drug company Neurim Pharmaceuticals, led by Nava Zisapel, the world's leading expert on melatonin, has developed Circadin® a pill, to be taken at bedtime, which could potentially alleviate the symptoms of sleeplessness and anxiety frequently associated with Alzheimer's patients. Circadin® mimics the same slow and controlled release of melatonin as occurs in the body of a healthy young adult.

Scotland is the first country to take part in the worldwide trial. Before the study is rolled out internationally, CPS Research is seeking to engage with 100 patients in Scotland to take part in the study over a period of nine months.

Dr Gordon Crawford of CPS Research said, "Dementia can be a shattering condition for patients, their families and friends. CPS Research is extremely encouraged by the positive early results in our world wide melatonin study.

"Melatonin does not currently exist as a treatment for dementia but is registered in Europe and the UK for use in older patients . It has proven remarkably safe and virtually free from side effects.

"With the help of volunteers from Scotland and worldwide we aim to establish that Melatonin helps combat sleeplessness in dementia patients; that a restful and undisturbed sleep helps patients with dementia function better daily and that taking melatonin makes the symptoms of dementia less severe."

To take part in the trial of melatonin in Alzheimer's disease contact CPS Research (Freephone) 0800 731 2647.

Source: CPS Research

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