Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Therapy For Alzheimer's In Sight?

Date:
September 20, 2004
Source:
University Of Bonn
Summary:
Immunoglobulins which are already being used to treat multiple sclerosis may also be able to help patients with Alzheimer's. This, at least, is the finding of a pilot study on five patients at the University of Bonn.

Immunoglobulins which are already being used to treat multiple sclerosis may also be able to help patients with Alzheimer's. This, at least, is the finding of a pilot study on five patients at the University of Bonn. The results are set out in the forthcoming edition of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (vol. 75, pp. 1472-1474), which also devotes its editorial to this discovery.

Immunoglobulins contain, among other things, anti-bodies against a protein which is the 'main suspect' thought to trigger off Alzheimer's. After six months of immuno-globulin doses the concentration of this protein in the patients' cerebrospinal fluid was reduced by one third. The patients' cognitive abilities improved slightly.

However, the medical team involved emphasise that their findings are still very tentative. They are now planning a large-scale double-blind clinical trial with about sixty patients so as to further confirm the positive effect of the immunoglobulins.

The cerebral cortex of Alzheimer's patients regularly contains large protein aggregates, what are known as Alzheimer's glands. They predominantly consist of beta-amyloid peptide, a small protein. This peptide collects in the brain of Alzheimer's patients and forms protein deposits which can damage and even destroy the sensitive nerve cells.

A promising approach in combating the disease seems to be the treatment with anti-bodies which are specifically effective against beta-amyloid. Thus, in animal experiments the injection of beta-amyloid anti-bodies led to a reduction in the protein deposits and an improvement in the behavioural deficits in these animals. Another study recently showed that immunising was not only able to reduce amyloid plaques, it also prevented the formation of the abnormal tau protein.

Recently the team led by the Bonn lecturer Dr. Richard Dodel was able to show that every person's blood contains anti-bodies against beta-amyloid, but that the concentra-tion in Alzheimer's patients is markedly lower. Their findings have been confirmed by two US teams. 'There are already anti-body blood preparations which are used for particular diseases of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, which are known as immunoglobulins,' Dr. Dodel explains. 'We have now investigated whether these preparations contain anti-bodies against beta-amyloid and if these can be used to fight Alzheimer's.' His team did in fact find anti-bodies in one type of immunoglobulin medication which are very effective specifically against beta-amyloid. In a pilot study carried out on five Alzheimer's patients the team then studied the effect of the immunoglobulins on the progress of the disease. This involved giving the patients an immunoglobulin injection intravenously every four weeks throughout the six-month study. Before beginning and on completing the therapy the researchers determined the beta-amyloid content in the blood and the CSF fluid – the latter being the liquid which is present in the brain and spinal cord. 'On average the beta-amyloid concentra-tion in the fluid decreased in the course of the study by over 30 per cent, while the concentration in the blood rose 2.3 times,' Dr. Dodel says. 'The immunoglobulins therefore seem to have the effect of flushing out the beta-amyloid from the brain' – how exactly this occurs is as yet unclear.

At the same time the team carried out various tests which enabled them to check the cerebral performance of dementia patients. After six months four of the five patients did slightly better than before in what is known as the ADAS-cog test (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale, cognitive subscale). In the MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination) test three patients improved. 'What is even more remarkable is that none of our test persons deteriorated,' Dr. Dodel explains. 'Without treatment Alzheimer's patients on average score seven to eleven points worse in the ADAS-cog test one year later, and even patients on medication score four to six points worse. In our study they improved on average by 3.7 points.'

However, the sample was far too small to be able to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of immunoglobulin therapy, since the substance was not tested in comparison with a placebo. 'We only carried out a pilot study,' Dr. Dodel emphasises; 'in order to confirm our findings we definitely need to carry out a double-blind trial with larger patient numbers.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Bonn. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Bonn. "Therapy For Alzheimer's In Sight?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040920065642.htm>.
University Of Bonn. (2004, September 20). Therapy For Alzheimer's In Sight?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040920065642.htm
University Of Bonn. "Therapy For Alzheimer's In Sight?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040920065642.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins