July 21, 2008 New research into the treatment of Alzheimer's disease reports improvement in language abilities using a novel immune-based approach. A video accompanying the research, published in the open access journal BMC Neurology, documents rapid language improvement within minutes of using this new treatment.
Building on previous work by the same authors, published in BioMed Central's Journal of Neuroinflammation, this study focuses on the effect of the anti-tumor necrosis factor--alpha (TNF-alpha) drug, etanercept, on measures of verbal ability.
TNF-alpha, a critical component of the brain's immune system, normally finely regulates the transmission of neural impulses in the brain. The authors hypothesize that elevated levels of TNF-alpha in Alzheimer's disease interfere with this regulation. To reduce elevated TNF-alpha, the authors utilized a unique perispinal delivery method to administer etanercept.
The new BMC Neurology article provides preliminary evidence that the disrupted neural communication seen in Alzheimer's disease may be reversible.
According to the lead author of the study, Edward Tobinick, "There are limitations to the data presented; the clinical trial was open label, and not controlled. These caveats notwithstanding, the scientific rationale for the further investigation of anti-TNF-alpha treatment of Alzheimer's disease is compelling. In addition, family members, independent neurologists, and other independent observers have confirmed the clinical, cognitive, and behavioral improvement noted".
Disruption of language function, such as the ability to find words, is a common symptom in advancing Alzheimer's disease, and this BMC Neurology article is one of the first to suggest the possibility of a new therapeutic approach that may address these symptoms.
The lead author of the study, Edward Tobinick MD, is Director of the Institute for Neurological Research, a private medical group, inc., in Los Angeles. Dr. Tobinick has been investigating the role of TNF in neurological disorders for a decade. His research has provided new potential insight into the way immune molecules, such as TNF, may influence the function of the nervous system.
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- Edward L. Tobinick and Hyman Gross. Rapid improvement in verbal fluency and aphasia following perispinal etanercept in Alzheimer's disease. BMC Neurology, July 21, 2008
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