Monday, October 27, 2008

Epilepsy drug could help cure Alzheimer's

From the Calgary Herald:
Researchers at the University of B.C. have discovered that a drug commonly used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder significantly reduces brain plaque in mice with Alzheimer's disease.

The discovery, if replicated in humans, could lead to major new treatments for the debilitating brain-wasting disease. "If this works . . . it's going to benefit every patient with Alzheimer's disease," said UBC psychiatry professor Weihong Song, who led the study.

Song and his colleagues took mice genetically modified to exhibit Alzheimer's-like symptoms and then treated them with valproic acid (VPA), a compound usually used as a mood stabilizer or anti-convulsant.

They found the drug reduced the formation of plaque on the mice's brains, which in turn led to less brain-cell death and improved performance on memory tests. "It's very, very significant," said Song.

"There's a striking inhibition of the plaque formation." ...more

No comments: