Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Studying Existing Drugs for Clues

An interesting study which was recently published in PLoS One came to my attention today.

It is titled "Unintended Effects of Cardiovascular Drugs on the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease."  The study examined 1,600 existing drugs which have been approved by the FDA to see if any had an impact on Alzheimer's Disease.  The interesting thing about this study is that it found some drugs seem to slow down the onset of the disease while others seem to accelerate it.

This reminds me of Viagra.  It was originally designed as a cardiovascular drug and the improved blood flow to the genitals was quickly noted as a side-effect.  Pretty soon, the drug's use was redirected to treat sexual dysfunction.  In this case, the cognitive side-effect of the drugs surveyed were not obvious so the team went hunting for patterns to see if there were any effects on Alzheimer's.  While this study and any subsequent studies may not necessarily lead to an Alzheimer's treatment, it may allow doctors to treat the intended condition while factoring in the risks or benefits the drug may have on individual's at high risk of developing Alzheimer's.


Additional Information:
Commonly Prescribed Drugs May Influence the Onset and Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

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