advances in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) research is a claim
by the Harvard Medical School's Dr.Dennis Selkoe, et al, to have
found the "smoking
gun" behind AD, with similar results reported by
Cambridge University's Dr..Christopher Dobson and associates.
The culprit, say the two research teams, is the misfolding of
amyloid beta protein into oloigomers that bind to synaptic junctions,
disrupting interneuronal communications. Dr. Selkoe suggests that
secretase inhibitors that block the enzyme that makes
amyloid beta, prevents the formation of oligomers. He predicts
that pharmaceutical companies may have gamma secretase inhibitors
on the market within five to seven years.(2007 70 2009) as AD
preventives, and possibly even as AD-reversal treatments.
Another approach to the treatment of moderate to advanced AD is provided by the antibiotic, clioquinol. This antibiotic was origininally appraved by the FDA, but was withdrawn from the market because of indications that it lowered the serum level of vitamin B12. However, it has had positive effects in lowering the production rate of amylloid-b. Its champion is Dr. Ashley Bush, also with the Harvard Medical School, heads the Laboratory for Oxidation Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and has approached AD from the perspective of oxidative damage. Dr. Bush attributes AD to oxidative damage caused by an improper reaction of amylloid-b with Copper and zinc. Dr. Bush thinks that, when it's working properly, amylloid-b may be an antioxidant akin to superoxide dismutase, which incorporates copper or selenium in its organometallic molecule. Like amylloid-b, superoxide dismutase can also exist in a mutated form that causes it to malfunction and oxidize tissue instead of quenching free oxygen radicals. (Superoxide dismutase has been linked to ALS... Lou Gehrig's disease). Dr. Bush believes that amylloid-b normally functions as an anti-oxidant, but in a mutated form (misfolded protein?), may attack the neurons it's designed to protect. Zinc, in addition to blocking tissue damage by the mutated form of amylloid-b, also rapidly precipitates the defective amylloid into clumps.
A third intriguing approach would use dietary intervention with a molecule consisting of three ketones joined end-to-end. Dr. Richard Veech of the National Institutes of Health is pursuing this promising lead.
A roundup of the latest drug treatments for AD Includes listings of melatonin and clioquinoline. Melatonin is particularly interesting because it's a presumably-harmless, over-the-counter food supplement. Another medication that is said to provide some improvement even in more advanced AD patients is memantine. Memantine is allegedly available in Europe, but not yet cleared for adminstration in the U. S. The Japanese investigation of an extract from the guarana tree soundfs interesting to me because it's a natural product that could be available at an early date. It's interesting that "One 2000 study found that the long-term use of NSAIDs enhanced mental performance but did not stop progression of the disease itself." Gingko biloba is also listed as another over-the-counter agent that may improve cognitive function.
Another survey of AD Research mentions the role played by high childhood IQ's.
B-vitamins, vitamin E, and gingko biloba appear onstage again in an article entitled, "ABCs Of Aging, Alzheimer's, Estrogen & Memory".
What Are the Latest Drug Treatments for Alzheimer's Disease__.htm