YOUR HEALTH: Alzheimer’s treatments on the horizon

Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Disease(MGN)
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 5:52 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, that number is projected to be 13 million. There’s no cure, and so far, only one FDA approved drug that stops the progression in some cases. Ivanhoe has more on two cutting-edge treatments that researchers are hoping to bring from bench to bedside.

Deep brain stimulation or DBS. It’s been used to control symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, and people with essential tremor.

Now, researchers at UT Health San Antonio are testing DBS on Alzheimer’s patients by implanting wires and stimulating the fibers of the fornix, the part of the brain responsible for memory.

“By increasing the flow of information, in that track, we might improve the ability of a person to retain new information.” Explains Gabriel de Erausquin, MD, PhD, Neurologist, Psychiatrist at UT Health San Antonio.

Scientists are also studying a new therapy involving the whole exchange of blood. It may decrease amyloid plaques in the brain, which are believed to have a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. The researchers gave repeated blood transfusions to specially bred mice and found their amyloid plaques decreased anywhere from 40 to 80 percent.

The shared scientific goal? Bringing basic science to human clinical trial.

Doctor Erausquin says, “If we can prove efficacy for this, that doesn’t have any effective treatments now, it really will be a massive improvement in our toolbox to treat the disease.”

A disease that kills more Americans every year than breast and prostate cancer combined.

UT Health San Antonio and University Health are approved to do DBS implants in 12 patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers are studying this method as a way to halt progression of the disease - not to reverse any memory loss. Researchers also studying blood transfusions say this may be an option that eventually allows patients to be treated through their circulatory systems, instead of sending drugs into the brain.

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