Sunday, May 6, 2012

Four Universities

News announcements about Alzheimer's this week was dominated by the release of studies from four universities.  The studies are all extremely interesting in their own rights.  However, what I see in this week's announcements is a tremendous amount of diversity in what scientists are examining in their quest to come up with a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

A study at Indiana University finds that memantine, a drug frequently prescribed to Alzheimer's patients, seems to help with some behavioral and psychological symptoms despite not reducing the amount of agitation exhibited by the patient.

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine released two findings this week.  They have determined how tau impacts the progression of Alzheimer's disease.  They have also developed a polyphenol from grape-seed extract that appears to improve cognition in mice with Alzheimer's.

Scientists at UC Davis have found compounds that disrupt the formation of amyloid in the brain of Alzheimer's patients.  One of the interesting things about their findings is that the compounds in their study are molecules which are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier.  Most medications for Alzheimer's are made of molecules which are too large to cross the barrier resulting in the medication never getting into the brain where it is needed.

MIT weighs in with a study which finds that stopping overproduction of a particular enzyme in the brain allowed mice with Alzheimer's to access memories which had previously been unavailable due to broken synapses between the neurons in their brains.


Full Disclosure:  One of the institutions listed above has been a client of my current employer.  I found the  news announcements above through my own efforts which are unconnected to my employment.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in Dementia Be Damned are mine unless attributed otherwise.

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