A New Approach May Yield a Treatment for Alzheimer’s

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Over time, Alzheimer’s disease destroys an individual’s ability to think and to independently go about the activities of daily life. It robs a person of their ability to relate to others, and tragically destroys their ability to remember the important people and events in their life.

According to the latest statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s. As the population ages, this number is expected to grow significantly.

Recently a group of researchers in Germany discovered an entirely new approach to treating this devastating disease.

As the brain ages, it naturally forms collections of beta-amyloid monomers. These are non-toxic, harmless substances. However, if these monomers transform into oligomers, they become a highly toxic beta-amyloid plaque. Many scientists consider beta-amyloid oligomers to be a likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although numerous approaches to fighting Alzheimer’s disease have been tested, they have failed to demonstrate efficacy in human trials. Dr. Dieter Willbold, lead researcher, hypothesizes that the reason that these methods failed is because they either targeted enzymes to reduce beta-amyloid clusters or they targeted antibodies that were designed to help the immune system destroy beta-amyloid clusters.

The German team decided to the attack beta-amyloid oligomers directly. For this purpose, they developed a new drug, known as PRI-002, which belongs to a new class of drugs known as D-peptides. Since PRI-002 is a compound designed to match a naturally occurring chemical in the human body, it is less likely to be targeted by the body as a foreign agent and destroyed.

When mice with the human equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease were treated with PRI-002, they showed a degree of cognitive improvement so profound that old mice with Alzheimer’s disease could no longer be distinguished from healthy mice in memory testing. The team’s research also showed that the drug was safe and well tolerated.

Clinical trials for humans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are expected to begin relatively soon. Judging from the results seen so far, researchers are optimistic about the benefits that may be achieved via PRI-002.

Until a cure is found, the best way to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s is to put them in the care of people who know how best to treat this vulnerable population.

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we are experts in handling all levels of cognitive impairment, from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

We have created a unique environment and care program specifically designed to address the needs of this population. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. It offers a structured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, excellent social interaction, with optimal patient independence in a calm and soothing atmosphere.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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