Positive news from clinical Alzheimer's research is rare. In hardly any other indication do pharmaceutical companies have to accept as many setbacks as here. To date, pharmacological approaches to treating Alzheimer's have been almost uniformly unsuccessful, with more than 400 failed clinical trials. Since 2002, there has been no new approval in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. That changed on June 7, 2021, when the drug Aducanumab, from U.S. biotech Biogen (and its Japanese research partner Eisai), was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The drug, which is administered intravenously to patients, will be available in the U.S. under the trade mark Aduhelm. Aduhelm works on the basis of passive immunization. It is a monoclonal antibody that targets amyloid-ß, a protein characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. These amyloid-ß proteins make up the deposits in the brain, known as plaques, which are associated with the destruction of neurones. Aduhelm's mechanism of action is based on promoting the breakdown of β-amyloid, thereby reducing the harmful plaques.
It's been a long road for Dr. Dale Bredesen in Alzheimer's research: He worked for years as a scientist and studied dying brain cells, fruit flies with "Alzflymer" and transgenic mice with "Mouzheimer's." But his applications for clinical trials that could demonstrate proof of efficacy of his research concepts in patients were first rejected in 2011 and again in 2018. Instead, he published treatment successes in his patients in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Finally, in 2019, he received approval to conduct a clinical trial, which was then completed last year.
It seems like a miracle: a late-stage Alzheimer's patient, completely immersed in dementia and cut off from his environment and his own identity. But when he hears the sounds of familiar pieces of music selected for him from his former life, he wakes up from his apathy, starts to laugh, talk, move and becomes 'alive' again!
The relation between lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease has been previously described in many studies. It has become well established that lifestyle interventions can prevent the onset of the disease in about 40% (as we reported in a previous NF based on the 12 Alzheimer’s disease prevention factors listed by The Lancet commission on Dementia). The Finnish FINGER study (Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study 2015) has also already impressively shown these correlations
Can aerobic exercises reduce cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients? – Results from a new randomized controlled trial.
Physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, contributing to general fitness, muscle control and coordination, and to a sense of wellbeing. Physical exercise is also essential for maintaining adequate blood flow to the brain and may stimulate brain cell growth and survival. Evidence of the effects of physical exercise in the prevention of dementia have been supported by many observational studies. The results of randomized trials suggest that exercise leads to increases in brain tissue, including the hippocampus and elevate blood levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), stimulating the formation of new nerve cells.
The human brain is an extremely sensitive organ. Therefore, it must also be particularly protected from toxins and pathogens. The supply of messenger substances and the removal of metabolic products must also be precisely regulated. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) has exactly this function and separates the central nervous system from the rest of the body's blood circulation. The BBB acts as a shield, protecting the brain from infectious agents and toxic substances, but must also act as a filter, allowing nutrients to get inside the central nervous system.
Nutritional drink against early-stage Alzheimer’s? First non-pharmacological study to show long-term success.
Can the course of early Alzheimer's disease be delayed by consuming a special mixture of nutrients? This question was investigated in the European study called 'LipiDiDiet' led by Prof. Tobias Hartmann. The scientists recruited Alzheimer's patients, who were in the early stages of the disease, to test the effectiveness of a specific nutritional drink called 'Souvenaid'. Souvenaid was developed as a medical dietary food for the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer's disease and is marketed by Nutricia (Danone Group). It contains a defined nutrient combination of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, choline, B vitamins (B6, B12 and folic acid), vitamins C and E, selenium and uridine monophosphate.
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has challenged neurologists for many years. It’s difficult to determine if someone will develop AD in the future, if the actual cognitive deficit is due to AD or to other cause of dementia and it’s also difficult to predict the pace or speed of disease progression.
You go to a doctor - usually a neurologist - ask about natural or lifestyle-oriented therapeutic methods for dementia - and you often look into blank eyes, at worst into an aggressively wrinkled forehead "Don't give me that, all dangerous nonsense, there are only a few pharmacological approaches that may really work!"
A study published in The American Journal of Medicine 2018, has demonstrated that maintaining a healthy diet in midlife is independently associated with a larger hippocampus years later and may protect against cognitive decline. The hippocampus is a structure located in the temporal lobe of each brain hemisphere and is directly involved in the process of memory. The volume of the hippocampus can be determined by brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Decreasing of its volume is related to cognitive impairment and is used in clinical practice for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (hippocampus atrophy).