Alzheimer’s Treatments Take a New Detour
Current treatments alleviate symptoms – for awhile. No drug or combination of drugs has cured this disease. However, new studies are using different approaches which mean new possibilities for stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s even reversing some of the damage.
The first unusual approach is based on cell phones. While there has been a great deal of talk about cell phones and brain cancer, no correlation has been proven. Surprisingly, a new research study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, by the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center claims that exposure to the radiation of cell phones could prevent Alzheimer’s. Apparently mice that were engineered to have Alzheimer’s disease, but did not yet have any symptoms and were exposed to electro-magnetic emissions – not that they had miniature mouse phones – did not get the disease! And those that had full blown Alzheimer’s disease were cured! The research team will now test mice with different cell phone radiation frequencies to determine which frequencies produce a greater and quicker cognitive benefit.
The second research approach involves a fast-acting compound that appears to improve cognitive function impairments in mice similar to patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This research comes from scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program in Drug Discovery. Their aim is to duplicate the result in humans. The compound – benzylquinolone carboxylic acid (BQCA) – has been shown in previous mouse studies to reduce the occurrence and severity of the behavioral disturbances which characterize Alzheimer’s like, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and emotional /violent outbursts as well as improve activities of daily living.
“In Alzheimer’s disease, the chemical signals – the little bits of information that are talking to each other in the brain – are reduced, so you can’t do the tasks very well,” explains Michelle M. Nicolle, Ph.D., an associate professor of gerontology at Wake Forest and co-researcher on the study, published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience.“BQCA is only boosting an existing signal, so it’s really specific in its action.”
BQCA also seemed to stop production of amyloid beta, a well-known marker of Alzheimer’s disease. This might be equally crucial to this compound’s potential for slowing the progression of the disease.
Another positive is that BQCA works quickly. More lab testing is needed and then the research will proceed to human clinical trials. This treatment is elegant because it is highly selective activating a specific neurotransmitter in the brain known as M1 without producing unpleasant or debilitating side effects such as nausea, vomiting and it is quick .
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