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Cure to Alzheimer’s disease: A research revealed a promising new drug

Updated on August 4, 2016
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Besides writing, Felishiya Fiamma is also into choreography & web development. She currently speaks Hindi, English, Spanish & little French.

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What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurological disorder which shows no signs of illness in the early stage but turn out to be worse over time. It is the cause of more than 70% cases of dementia and mostly found among people who are more than 50 years old.

In other words, it is a progressive mental failure that completely ruins your memory and other prominent mental functions. It is named after German Neurologist named Alois Alzheimer.

Worldwide facts about Alzheimer’s disease

  • More than 44 million people are suffering from this disease.
  • The disease is mostly found in aged women.
  • The global cost of caring for patients suffering from this disease is more than $600 billion.
  • Many centres provide free care for Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Till today, there is no effective cure available for this in the market.
  • Countries such as Finland, US, Canada, Sweden, UK, France, New Zealand, Spain are the most affected and have the highest death rate of people due to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • India, Singapore, Georgia, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan and Bulgaria are the least affected countries.
  • Possibility of this disease in a person can be detected at the age of 18.


How it is harmful to our body? What are its symptoms?

  • Short term memory loss
  • Problems in recalling recently held events
  • Disorientation and difficulty with language
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of substantial amount of energy and motivation
  • Lack of self-care
  • Behavioural issues
  • Lack of proper bodily functions
  • Disconnecting with family, friends and society
  • Dizziness
  • Destroys brain cells
  • Attacks nerves and transmitters
  • May result into death

What are the causes of this disease?

  • Head injury
  • Excessive intoxication
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Inherited via genes
  • High cholesterol level
  • Ageing

Brain affected by Alzheimer's disease
Brain affected by Alzheimer's disease | Source

What are the possible diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease?

To diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, following methods are used:

  • Medical history of ill person and his/her relatives are observed.
  • Person’s behavior is regularly monitored.
  • To exclude sub-types of dementia, advanced medical imaging is used along with CT (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and with SPECT (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography) or PET (Positron Emission Tomography).
  • To specify the actual state of the disease, person’s intellectual functioning is assessed that also includes memory testing.
  • Strongly precised post-mortem of brain material and historical examination of it can confirm the diagnosis.
  • A microscopic examination of brain tissues is done that comes under neuropsychological testing. This testing is very much in practice to evaluate the cognitive impairments to bring out the definitive diagnosis.

How to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

Till now, there is no measure that ensures the complete prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies have proposed various factors to stop this disease from prevailing such as intellectual activities, diet, changing lifestyle and using certain medication, but there is a need to do further analysis to confirm if these factors are really effective.

Difference between healthy neuron and neuron affected by tau protein
Difference between healthy neuron and neuron affected by tau protein | Source

Promising research by scientists to cure Alzheimer’s disease

In Toronto, Canada, researches, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016 (AAIC 2016), revealed that they have found the possibility of curing the disease using a drug called LMTX.

According to them, LMTX, which is developed by TauRx Pharmaceuticals, is a TAI i.e. Tau Aggregation Inhibitor. It means that it is capable of targeting tau protein present in the brain as well as preventing its growth and destroying the tangles formed by it.

Tau is the biggest reason for causing Alzheimer’s disease. This protein causes death of nerve cells by forming twisted fibres known as tangles.

Another reason is amyloid plaques, which are said to be a group of beta-amyloid protein. They are responsible for interfering nerve cell communication and finally destroying it.

How they researched about it?

Researchers:

Dr. Serge Gauthier, working at Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Medicine and Psychiatry at McGill University in Canada, and his colleagues were the researchers.

Number of patients enrolled and their average age:

891 patients were enrolled who were more than 70 years old.

Research procedure:

They were given three types of different treatments for 15 months, which are:

Type of medicine
How much amount?
Oral LMTX
150 milligrams
Oral LMTX
250 milligrams
Control dose of LMTX
8 milligrams
Three different types of treatments given to patients

85 per cent of the patients were also using other approved treatment for the disease.

After every 13 weeks, they have to go through certain testing mechanisms namely:

  • Brain imaging
  • ADAS-Cog, Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale cognitive subscale
  • ADCS-ADL, Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living

Results:

  • No improvement in patients who were having LMTX as well as other approved treatments.
  • Improvements in daily and cognitive functions in patients who were only having LMTX. They also showed signs of reduced brain atrophy.
  • Disease progression slowed down to great level.
  • Side effects: Minor chances of gastrointestinal problems, urinary and renal disorders as well as infections and infestations.

Conclusion:

  • Results have proved that the drug is quite effective in targeting the disease at its core.
  • LMTX is a mono therapy and does not work along with other treatments.
  • The treatment is effective for patients who are in phase 3.
  • It is estimated that it will probably take 3 to 5 years more to test the actual capability of the drug, its side-effects and if it is suitable to be tested in human beings.
  • Researchers still looking into the problem which is why LMTX loses its efficacy when taken in combination with other approved treatments for Alzheimer’s disease?

Besides LMTX, researches have found that an antioxidant known as Resveratrol is also capable of fighting against Alzheimer' s disease. If you have not read yet, then check out Resveratrol: A new element for building immunity to fight against Alzheimer’s disease to know to what extent Resveratrol is helpful in curing Alzheimer's disease.

For prior knowledge, let me tell you that Resveratrol is a kind of antioxidant produced by plants for self-healing. It is also beneficial for human beings in the sense that it helps in curing heart related problems and cancer as well as it also ensures longevity and helps in losing weight.

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