Doctors’ Column: Early Treatment of Alzheimer’s Explored

More and more data suggest that treatment for Alzheimer’s disease may be more effective if started early, even before symptoms appear. In addition, recent clinical trials of treatments for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have failed, suggesting that waiting to treat the disease until these stages may be too late, and that once the degenerative process has started it cannot be stopped. But since Alzheimer’s has no identifiable markers in its early stages, how would doctors know when and whom to treat?

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Scripps Research Institute Scientists Help Unravel a Central Mystery of Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have shed light on one of the major toxic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. The discoveries could lead to a much better understanding of the Alzheimer’s process and how to prevent it.

The findings, reported in the April 10, 2013 issue of the journal Neuron, show that brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the overactivation of an enzyme called AMPK. When the scientists blocked this enzyme in mouse models of the disease, neurons were protected from loss of synapses-neuron-to-neuron connection points-typical of the early phase of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Depression Linked to Later Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer’s

A new study reveals that depression is associated with the later development of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia – a condition caused by blocked or reduced blood flow to the brain, depriving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients.

The report in the British Journal of Psychiatry is an analysis of 23 prior studies that followed nearly 50,000 older adults over a median of five years. The researchers found that depressed older adults (over age 50) were more than twice as likely to develp vascular dementia and 65 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who weren’t depressed. Read the full article

Alzheimer’s Drug Trial Begins This Week

A major 18-month drug trial gets under way this week to see whether a blood pressure medication can slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

An Irish medical researcher, Prof. Brian Lawlor, is co-ordinating the international trial, Nilvad (nilvadipine in Alzheimer’s disease),
which involves nine countries. For more information click here….