Slow Disease Progress in New Alzheimer's Drug

Slow Disease Progress in New Alzheimer's Drug

As a comic actor, Gene Wilder's death from complications of Alzheimer's disease, news outlets are expecting more than a possible breakthrough drug for the disease.

The new drug, called educanumab, was able to destroy brain plaques in people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is an incurable brain disease that leads to memory, thinking, and behavior problems. Scientists believe that it is caused by the formation of bizarre protein fungi, called plaques and tangles, in the brain. Those clamps prevent brain cells from sending messages to each other and the body.

For the study, 165 individuals were divided into four groups: each group was given different monthly doses of IV educanumab over 54 weeks. One group was given a fake version of the drug, called a placebo, to ensure that the effect was not occurring due to people's mental state or motivation levels.

The drug reduced the number of plaques of the brain for 125 individuals who continued it for the entire length of the study — 40 people dropped out due to serious side effects including fluid buildup around the brain. Common, but less severe side effects included headaches and urinary tract infections.

Among those included in the study, those taking the largest doses had the best results according to a PET brain scan. A PET brain scan involves injecting or taking with radioactive sugar, which helps uncover how organs are working on powerful images.

It is unclear whether the actual sample of brain tissue will show the same results as the scan. Nevertheless, after one year, individuals actually experienced some improvement in their thinking abilities.

The small size of the group means that research on this drug is still a long way to go. More studies are being planned with larger groups of people, so it might have been at least a few years before Edukunumab hit the market.

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