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article imageScientists find a new treatment to slow down Alzheimer's Disease

By Claudio Buttice     May 26, 2016 in Health
A team of German, Swedish and Italian researchers from Örebro University found a new strategy to slow down Alzheimer's Disease (AD) progression. They tried an old drug (clopidogrel) to test out a new therapeutic strategy.
Professor Margitta Elvers led the study published in the journal Science Signaling. According to the evidence provided by the scientists, the anticoagulant drug clopidogrel can reduce the speed at wich AD inevitably destroys the human brain.
Patients affected by Alzheimer’s Disease progressively lose their ability to perform everyday tasks such as eating, speaking, thinking and walking. Neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) die one after the other until the entire brain is affected and stops his most basic functions. Nerve cells are destroyed by immune system cells attracted by local inflammation signals, which are triggered by the building up of proteinic waste clumps. These pathological clumps are called beta-amyloid plaques, and they cluster up inside neurons, preventing their normal function and synapse signaling.
Even worse, these plaques can move inside blood vessels by sticking on platelets' (thrombocytes) surface, triggering chain reactions that lead to an incredibly quick beta-amyloid cluster aggregation. According to the research team, a medication that's able to interfere with this mechanism by reducing platelets' aggregation may also slow down plaques' build up speed. The well-known heart drug clopidogrel was chosen since it can inhibit thrombocytes activation. Evidence provided by the European scientists revealed that beta-amyloid plaques grew more slowly in mice who received this treatment. The results are very promising, as they may have identified a new mechanism of plaque formation, although many more years of study are required to be sure that this drug has the same activity on human beings.
More about Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's, clopidogrel, Research, Medicine
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