A highly unusual placebo experiment has found evidence that a shunt can markedly improve mental function and walking in dementia patients.
Fourteen patients were followed for 3.5 years by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, after half of them were given a functioning shunt operation, while the other half were given a non-functioning "sham" operation.
The findings indicated that patients given the shunt had tangibly improved mental and walking function.
When patients in the placebo group had their "sham" shunt activated, they also started to show improvements.
Commenting on the findings, which are published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, lead researcher Magnus Tisell explained: "We believe that far more patients than is currently the case could benefit from a shunt operation, which will require more resources.
"We also need to find out more about which patients are good candidates for the operation and which shunt is best in each particular case."
Meanwhile, recent research published in the European Journal of Neurology indicated that adult ADHD can significantly increase the risk of people developing a common form of dementia.
Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.