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New Study Aimed To Prevent Alzheimer's Dementia

The areas where the most Alzheimer’s plaques typically form are highlighted in red and yellow on these brain scans
Courtesy of St.Louis Public Radio/Tammie Benzinger, MD, PhD, Tyler Blazey
Washington University

Washington University will soon launch a clinical trial aimed at preventing people with Alzheimer's disease from developing dementia.

Washington University neurologist and study lead Dr. Randall Bateman says this is one of the first clinical trials to try to treat Alzheimer's patients before they have any symptoms.

"When someone has high cholesterol we don't wait until after they have a heart attack to start a drug that lowers the cholesterol,” Bateman said. “We check, and if they have high cholesterol we give them drugs to lower the cholesterol levels, to prevent the heart attack from occurring."

Bateman says the trial will involve 160 patients in the U.S., Europe, and Australia who have a very rare, inherited form of Alzheimer's, which typically causes dementia before age 50.

"In most trials in Alzheimer's disease, people are treating the disease after the damage is being done to the brain. And in this trial we're trying to treat the disease before that damage gets done,” Bateman said.

The study will test three different drugs, one made by Roche and the other two by Eli Lilly. The trial is set to begin early next year.

The two-year study is being funded by Roche and Eli Lilly, and by a 4-point-2 million dollar grant from the Alzheimer's Association.

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