March brings the end of winter weather, new blossoms and the beginning of spring. This March also brought many new developments and insights into Alzheimer’s disease.
We hope these research developments bring hope, comfort and a new season of treatments and possibly a cure to the heartbreaking disease. Here is a brief recap of Alzheimer’s developments in March.
New Research and Hope for Alzheimer’s
In a small and early clinical trial, an experimental drug to treat Alzheimer’s sharply slowed cognitive decline in participants. The drug being developed by Biogen, Inc. fights amyloid plaque in the brain, which many researchers believe cause the disease. While many researchers and drug developers caution that it is difficult to interpret results from such a small study, many are hopeful and impressed by the results thus far.
Lead research funders in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are renewing their commitment to better understand the relationship between neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The program is entitled Biomarkers Across Neurodegenerative Diseases (BAND) and has been funded for a second cycle nearly $2 million to study the commonalities of various diseases that attack the brain. In the first cycle, the project was given $1.3 million and supported 9 separate projects.
A study conducted at the University of Queensland found that ultrasound treatments can break apart amyloid plaques that many researchers believe cause memory loss and subsequent cognitive decline. The non-invasive and relatively inexpensive technology may potentially change the way the disease is treated. The research was successfully conducted on mice and scientists hope to test the results on humans in a clinical trial within the next couple of years.
A new diet developed by researchers from Rush University in Chicago may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 35%, even when only followed moderately. The diet promotes green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, and wine while limiting red meats, butter, sweets and fried or fast foods.
Gout is a form of arthritis that affects over 8 million Americans. It is painful and debilitating but researchers have found that people who have had gout also have a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 24%. Researchers are not sure why this relationship exists except that possibly the excess levels of uric acid that cause gout may also protect against oxidative stress that limits neuron degeneration.
Did we miss any of the biggest Alzheimer’s development from the past month? Share your favorite Alzheimer’s development with us in the comments below.