Jeanne Alzheimers

Reporter: Laura Sparkes

It could be the magic bullet for Alzheimers Disease, "for the very first time to see that person stabilised and that basically is a major finding."

They're rare moments, flickers of memory but now a new medical breakthrough using Testosterone could bring a glimmer of hope for one of our most loved, larger than life-television stars ever, Jeanne Little. Jeanne's daughter Katie first spoke out earlier this year revealing her mothers swift decline. "Its almost as if someone has passed away but they havent passed away theyre still there deep down but you cant get through."

Jeanne or ninny as she's known to her grandkids Tom and Charlotte is about to celebrate her 73rd birthday the first in a nursing home. Kids are great actually when I've been upset in the past they keep you focused in the present which is what I love. Its not like they're hanging onto this memory of what mum used to be like and so they're not upset by the fact she's not like that

But for tv expert craig bennett and longtime friend of jeanne, its not so easy. "I cannot even express what its like to see her now lying there in that home, basically unable to do anything from this extraordinary vivacious colourful wonderful zany woman we all came to know and love" Katie hopes the new Jeanne Little alzheimers research fund could contribute to the australian breakthrough.

Professor Ralph Martens from Perth's Edith Cowan University is the man behind the finding....A testosterone implant has helped halt the march of alzheimers in 33 year old sufferer Lorinda Clarrick. Lorinda was featured last year on Channel 7 before alzheimers took complete hold of her. Her family has suffered at the hands of Alzheimers for generations. Her mother, grandmother, aunt and cousin all died of it. Incredibly since the implant, she's improved. "They find she's so much interested in things, very energetic, shows intiative interacts with her kids a lot more features they didnt see 12 months ago."

The testosterone implant works by reducing the production of amyloids the toxic protein associated with alzheimers, Professor Martens is pushing for a clinical trial but testosterone is a natural hormone. Drug companies cant patent it and so aren't interested.

"If a clinical trial can happen and we can show efficacy in 12 months then it can be rolled out ot eh community instantly"

It may be too late for Jeanne but it could help some of the 250,000 who suffer from it today, as our population ages it will become even more common-up to 1 million by 2050. Unfortunately Jeanne is past understanding it's her birthday but katie hopes each visit helps keep the memories going. Katie and her kids are now enjoying the little things with Jeanne, a smile, a pat on the hand, a flicker of recognition. Katie says "I was taking a few photos on sunday on my phone because she was smiling quite a bit so I was like I just want to remember you, I want to capture this now because that will be the next thing I have to deal with it makes you realise how precious moments are"