Currently, there are no quick fix solutions. If we take Alzheimer’s disease for example, the drugs on the market are less than satisfactory. Of the five commonly prescribed medications, the best patients might expect is a few more years of life. These drugs apparently enhance the function of the remaining neurons within their circuits: four of the five currently available slow the breaking down of the brain cell messenger chemical, acetylcholine. Acetylcholine keeps our bodies working normally, keeping us in touch with the world around us through our senses. It also controls our voluntary movements. The fifth medicine blocks a brain signal receptor called NMDA, which receives signals carried by another messenger chemical, glutamic acid, implicated in learning and memory. And at the clinical trial stage, it was recently reported that Rember, a drug that dissolves the tau protein tangles in the brain, is extremely promising at stopping cognitive decline. However, it is likely that it will be another five years before it is licensed for use.

In fact, there is evidence to show that taking good-old aspirin or Nurofen can help by keeping inflammation of neurons at bay. Inflammation can make cells dysfunctional or even tumourous. Taking these drugs long-term however, is not ideal given the increased risk of gastric bleeding and ulcer formation.