An experimental Alzheimer's drug far outperformed placebo treatments in slowing the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's patients, Stat reported Wednesday, giving neurologists hope that an effective treatment for the disease is possible. Patients who were given the drug, produced by Biogen and Eisai, "performed 30 percent better on a cognitive test than those getting placebo," Stat explained, and the positive early returns may move the companies to approach the FDA for approval before conducting a larger study. But "there are caveats," Stat wrote: The drug's Phase 2 trial showed that the drug only outperformed placebo at its highest dose, and the highest dose was administered to just 161 patients. Still, "I'll remain cautiously optimistic," said Mayo Clinic doctor Ronald Petersen.

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