An Australian research team funded by the AADRF, have recently discovered a feasible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia, as well as a way of enhancing the delivery of this treatment.
New research out of Penn State University suggests that current approaches to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease that selectively target amyloid beta have so far proven ineffective in human clinical trials because they may be failing to target the flow-on effects that occur in the brain after amyloid beta plaques appear.
By Myles Minter, AADRF funded PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
In mid September I travelled to Cannes on the French Riviera to attend an international conference on neurodegenerative diseases. One of the major topics discussed at this conference was the identification of new biomarkers for detecting Alzheimer’s disease. Of the 120 delegates who attended the conference, many stated that earlier diagnosis would give clinicians a greater capability to treat disease progression.
Dr Renate Zilkens and her Perth team, recently undertook a study on the rates of prescription of cholinesterase inhibitors across Australia to determine if there were any trends in who was or was not prescribed these drugs. Cholinesterase inhibitors are a class of drugs that help treat the symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. These drugs are one of the very limited treatment options for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Synapses are connections between brain cells, which allow communication of information so that the body and mind function seamlessly.
The synapses in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease become damaged and these vital communication avenues are lost, contributing to the symptoms of memory loss, reasoning deficits and impaired motor skills. The biochemical process that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease to cause damage to synapses has recently had a major breakthrough.
Benzodiazepines are used regularly by around 15% of Australian adults aged 65 and over. Studies focusing on the association between benzodiazepine use and cognitive decline in older people have reported conflicting results. Some found an increased risk of dementia or cognitive impairment with benzodiazepine use, while other studies found that people taking the drug had a reduced risk of dementia.