RESEARCHERS in Oxford have launched a six-month trial to see whether an anti-epilepsy drug can help to treat memory loss in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

The study, which is being led by Dr Arjune Sen of Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, is being carried out by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

People with Alzheimer's disease may have seizures, as well as exhibiting abnormal brainwave activity without having obvious seizures.

Seizures may contribute to the loss of nerve cells, and abnormal brainwave activity can disrupt thinking and memory.

ALSO READ: Donor finally found for Ally after three-year global search

Tests using mice have shown that the anti-epileptic drug Levetiracetam can reduce abnormal brainwave activity and reverse memory deficits.

The drug can also improve memory difficulties seen in people with mild cognitive impairment, a pre-cursor to Alzheimer's disease.

The team will allocate 30 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease with no history of a previous seizure to initially receive either Levetiracetam or a placebo, before the groups 'cross over'.