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Experimental Drug Found to Benefit Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Recently, an experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug was found to possibly benefit the early stages of the disease, after failing to reach it’s original goal – to stop mental decline altogether. The drug trial ended when the drug failed, however, weeks later, the final analytical reports indicated that this could still benefit patients – just in a different stage of the disease.

In the final report on the drug trial, results showed that during the course of treatment the drugs lessened physical damage to the brain. It was also able to inhibit nerve cell damage to the brain, reduce amyloid plaque build-up, and decrease the amount of tau (the toxic protein that is found in spinal fluid indicating brain cell deterioration). These results show that while the drug may not work for late stage Alzheimer’s patients, or to relieve the symptoms of the disease overall, it may be able to be applied to early stage Alzheimer’s patients, lessening the physical effects of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in our country and the only one with no ability to prevent, cure, or slow the progression.  As the baby boomers age, the number of cases is expected to rise to almost 10 million in the next few years.  This new drug could mean physical treatment for early stage cases and hindered progression of the disease early on, providing the patient with more time.

The new information on the drug test is promising. Disappointed researchers who worked on the initial failed study feel hopeful about the unexpected results. While it will still take some time to ensure the drug is a safe course of treatment, the hopeful signs of biomarkers from the study give researchers somewhere to start.

  Sources: USA Today - Bloomberg Businessweek - Reuters -
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