40 Sites Around the US To Test A New Drug For Alzheimer’s Disease

This is a big deal. After so many years of failures in finding a drug to stop or even slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) most researchers have moved their focus to prevention of the disease before and signs or symptoms of dementia show up. This leaves those who have already been diagnosed feeling like they have been forgotten.

This study involves a precursor of the drug riluzole, a drug that has already been approved for ALS (amylotrophic lateral sclerosis, 1995). This precursor or “prodrug” as they call it is a related compound with lesser side effects that when taken is converted by the body into riluzole. It’s name is Troriluzole. The fact that it is converted by the body makes it a safer compound as well as more easily tolerated. For ALS, riluzole is an important find. Although it doesn’t cure the disease or quell the symptoms, it has been shown to increase survival time by at least a year and a half.

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How Do Dementia Drugs Work?

Most of the dementia drugs presently prescribed are cholinesterase inhibitors. To understand how this works in the brain, we have to learn how the neurons function. We have over 100 billion neurons in our brain. Neurons are the message relaying cells. They consist of a cell body that houses the nucleus , mitochondria, and other important systems that keep the neuron alive. Each neuron also has an axon, which is a long “conducting” tube that extends from the cell body. At the end of the axon are the dendrites or “small branches” that extend into the space between the dendrites of the next neuron. The neurons don’t physically touch each other, so how does the electronic message get from one neuron to the other?

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