Scotland Leads The Way In Developing Breakthrough Alzheimer’s Drug

WHEN Sandra Sutherland started to struggle to stay focused at work, her thoughts did not immediately turn to Alzheimer’s disease.

But in 2005, while being investigated for another medical condition, she was diagnosed with the disease.

The 61-year-old, who lives with her husband and two sons in Aberdeen, said she was surprised to discover she had Alzheimer’s.

She said: “I was gobsmacked. I tell everyone I have Alzheimer’s and they can’t believe it.”

Mrs Sutherland, whose hobbies include doing crosswords and gardening, was lucky enough to start on the trials of the new drug, rember, two years ago and she believes that the medication has really helped her.

“Since I’ve been on the trial I feel more confident, more positive,” she said. “I think my concentration has levelled off and not got worse.”

Her husband, Ian, said: “Sandra still has days when she is not great, but there has been no decline in the mini mental tests she has had to do as part of the trial, so it would appear the medication is working.”

Jimmy Hardie, 72, used mistakenly to put sugar in the fridge and suffer mood swings. He and his wife, Dorothy, a 69-year-old former nurse, live in the coastal village of Boddam, south of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005, after he suffered “blanks” and could not remember what he was about to do.

He started on the rember trial in 2006. Mrs Hardie said the treatment had helped her husband to gain confidence, allowing him to continue running a trout fishery and enjoying DIY.

Mr Hardie, who worked at the nearby power station for 14 years, said: “I feel the treatment has helped me. Having a lot of friends and hobbies has also been a great help.”

Another patient to have benefited from rember is grandmother-of-five Helen Carle, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 after becoming forgetful and panicky. The 68-year-old was so anxious she did not like letting her husband, George, out of her sight.

The couple live in Cove, south of Aberdeen, and believe Helen’s trial on rember, which she began three years ago, has helped to improve her mental state.

“I am still forgetful sometimes, but who isn’t?” said the former department store assistant.