Some potentially exciting news has been announced and the UK media are all over it …
Breakthrough as scientists create first drug to halt Alzheimer’s disease
A pill taken twice a day has stalled deterioration of the brain in Alzheimer’s patients for the first time.
Scientists announced that the mental decline of participants in a final-stage trial had been halted for 18 months, raising hopes that an effective treatment for the drug, called LMTX, is close at hand.
Unprecedented Alzheimer’s drug slows disease by 80 per cent
“Our results are unprecendented, compared with anyone else’s,” says Claude Wischik at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and co-founder of the firm TauRx Pharmaceuticals, which developed LMTX.
Many others including The Times and also the BBC are carrying a similar story and so the message to the UK public is that a new dramatic discovery has been made.
Ever so slight flaw … its all rather sadly complete bollocks and none of them appears to have fact-checked.
The Skeptical Bit
The problem with the above stories doing the rounds in the UK media about the new LMTX wonder-drug is that LMTX has failed its clinical trials and does not actually work.
Interestingly enough the US media got it right. The New York Times reports …
Alzheimer’s Drug LMTX Falters in Final Stage of Trials
A new type of drug for Alzheimer’s disease failed to slow the rate of decline in mental ability and daily functioning in its first large clinical trial. There was a hint, though, that it might be effective for certain patients.
…Over all, the patients who received LMTX, which was developed by TauRx Therapeutics, did not have a slower rate of decline in mental ability or daily functioning than those in the control group.
… Dr. Rachelle Doody, director of the Alzheimer’s disease and Memory Disorders Center at Baylor College of Medicine, agreed. “To present it to the public now as a promising approach seems unjustified,” she said.
Luckily some have been having a go at the media about this …
(Side note: RCT = Randomised Clinical Trial)
Dr Ben Goldacre tweets to Chris Smyth about his front page article within The Times claiming it to be a new breakthrough …
srsly @smyth_chris i'm not having a random pop, you're one of the good ppl, but your frontpager is indefensible https://t.co/xYlpicegy3
— ben goldacre (@bengoldacre) July 27, 2016