Researchers have found that it’s possible to improve memory, even reverse memory loss, using a drug typically prescribed to treat epilepsy. Although it’s still too early to recommend the drug, levetiracetam, to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease, research results are promising.
Ask anyone who’s lost anyone they have loved to Alzheimer’s disease.
They will tell you unequivocally the illness that unforgivingly erases the minds of its sufferers, leaves behind unforgettable, heartbreaking memories with loved ones.
With Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., there is no cure, no prevention – and no doubt the 18 million sufferers worldwide, will double by 2025, according to the World Health Organization.
The pharmaceutical industry has beat a concerted retreat from developing drugs for diseases that affect the brain, stymied by the lengthy development times for these agents and a string of failures. Despite the evident risks, a new study shows how industry leaders should perhaps be taking the long view.
A once-a-day tablet that harnesses a chemical found in pine cones shows great promise in both preventing and slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug, known as NIC5-15, has been shown in animal studies to be effective in preventing the formation of amyloid plaques. These are believed to coat the brain cells stopping them from working effectively.
Scientists in the US who looked at 65 health elderly people, whose average age was 76, found those who did so tended to lower amounts of a destructive protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, than those who were less mentally active.
The researchers at the University of California’s Berkeley campus found they had less beta-amyloid, which are thought to cause Alzheimer’s when they accumulate in sufficient quantities to fold into tangles plaques.
An experimental form of gene therapy has given hope of a significant advance in the treatment of dementia.
The therapy, in which a nerve growth factor delayed the loss of brain cells, led to increased metabolic activity in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers and a reduction in the decline of cognitive functions.
Though the study was small, the subjects seemed to show indications of a reduction in the advancement of their disease, according to Prof Mark Tuszynski of the University of California, San Diego, the study’s principal investigator.