Lifewatch: Alzheimer's Disease

WILMINGTON -- There is a glimmer of hope for Alzheimer's sufferers, thanks to a drug normally used to treat arthritis.

Researchers in California said they have been amazed by the effects on some patients injected with Etanercept.

Now, there are videos showing people transformed by the treatment within a matter of minutes.  And these videos are getting more attention in the United States.

Alzheimer is terrible for the patient and terrible too for their families who witness its degenerative effect.

According to scientists in California video footage shows the almost instantaneous result of using an arthritis drug to treat Alzheimer.

The wife of 82 year-old Marvin Miller is plainly astonished.

"All I can tell you about three years ago he got my daughter up out of bed and said there's a strange lady in my bed. woke me up and said what are you doing here? and she said that's your wife daddy. that's my mommy," said Denise Lintern.

The drug has been used successfully in a number of patients, but experts in the United Kingdom are cautious.

"We need to see a properly controlled trial. we need to see a placebo controlled trial so you can compare people who get the treatment that's supposed to be effective with people who get a dummy treatment in reality," said Dr. Suzanne Sorenson of the Alzheimer's Society.

Researchers have developed an unusual way of getting the arthritis drug, etanercept, into the brain.

It's first injected into the patient's neck, they're then tilted back to encourage blood flow into the brain.

Once there it boosts communication between brain cells. It's claimed to take only minutes for it to work.

But for Denise, constantly caring for her husband, Stan, even the hope of reversing the disease's effects is tantalizing.

"The lady in America got a smile out of her husband. He knew her name and he gave her a cuddle and that would be absolutely fantastic cause it must be about six years since I've had one of those," said Denise.

The Neurological Research Center said the British Government is now funding a clinical trial of the technique.

Reported by Kristy Ondo