A Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease may be on the Horizon!

New research by the University of Manchester suggests that a cure for the debilitating and memory robbing Alzheimer’s Disease may be on the horizon. Every year, more than 7.5 million people are diagnosed with the disease and as people are living longer, this number is expected to climb over the next decade.

The study, conducted on 20 mice, introduced symptoms of the disease through genetic alteration. Then, a mini-pump was installed under their skin that pumped mefenamic acid into the mice. Mefenamic acid, a generic drug, is sold under many different names and is a common Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) widely used to treat the symptoms of menstrual pain and discomfort.  The Alzheimer’s symptoms were completely reversed in the mice that received treatment with the NSAID.

Scientists have been aware that inflammation can worsen the symptoms of the disease and were excited that the study showed that the NSAID was able to target NLRP3 inflammasome, a danger signal sensor that ignites the body’s inflammatory response mechanism. Despite the exceptional results in mice, researchers caution that the real proof will come from human trials. However, there is cautious optimism about the use of an already known drug, since it normally takes approximately 15 years to bring a new drug to the market. Researchers are hopeful that mefenamic acid can be used soon after the release of the human trial studies if those studies yield positive results.

Scientists also caution that due to the various side affects of the NSAID, further studies are needed to ensure its success in treating Alzheimer’s disease. This study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes dementia. Common symptoms include memory loss and loss of mental function as brain cells degenerate and die. Symptoms worsen over time, leaving patients unable to remember loved ones and unable to take care of themselves. The cause is unknown, and while medications are available to help manage some of the symptoms, the current treatments are temporary. The disease is typically seen in adults over age 60. However, people under age 60 can also exhibit early on-set symptoms.

To find out more, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at http://www.alz.org/

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