`It's made me a lot better with no bad side-effects'

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The Independent Online
Jackie Luisis first realised that there was something wrong with her mother Jill, five years ago, when they went on holiday together to Greece. Jackie was 31 and her mother was 54.

"She would walk out into the road or into lamp posts, as if in a daze. The slightest little thing would throw her into a tantrum. It was very worrying," said Ms Luisis, who lives near her mother's home in Hackney, east London. "So when we got back home, I told my father, who made her go to the doctor. She was immediately referred to St Bartholomew's Hospital, where they diagnosed dementia. "For a couple of years, she just got worse and worse. She lost her memory [though not completely], she lost her ability to hold a conversation, to read, crochet, to handle money, shop or travel.

"She stopped caring about her appearance. It was as if there was nobody in her body and we had lost our mum.".

But 18 months ago, Jill Luisis, who had been a special needs teacher, was put on the drug Aricept and, after about two months, her condition began to improve markedly. She can now read, follow a film on television, shop on her own and has started to knit again.

"It has made me a lot better. I can go on buses and travel a bit. I read the papers, but I can't pick up a book. It is a blank to me. I used to read three a day,' Mrs Luisis, who lives with her husband Michael, said.

The mother-of-five added that the drugs had had no bad side effects - but "only good effects. I am pleased with it."

Jackie Luisis said: "It's like a miracle. She started laughing again, which she had not done for months. It has got her brain working again.

"We are still concerned about her, but it has brought her some independence."

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