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Alzheimer’s can be treated with antidepressants

The new research comes from the University of Waterloo, and the study indicates that antidepressant medications have an effect on Alzheimer’s disease. This is specifically with a class of medicines called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors. These drugs appear to delay the development and growth of amyloid-beta proteins, which come together to develop a plaque.

This clumping is considered to be a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. This happens when amyloid-beta proteins in the brain clump together and develop plaques. The plaques block cell-to-cell signals, which leads to delayed cognitive function. As the plaques become larger, the transmission of information in the brain becomes ever more impaired.

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease. The condition begins slowly and becomes progressively worse over time. The disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. The neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease starts years before symptoms of dementia appear.

Commenting on the discovery, Professor Praveen Nekkar, who led the research, said: “These are promising findings for people with Alzheimer’s who are on SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors).”

He adds: “These finding may not only highlight benefits for people with depression and Alzheimer’s but can also provide insights to serve as a guide to future drug development to treat the disease.”

The importance of the research is that the drugs have already been approved by governments. The researchers were able to take approved selective serotonin uptake inhibitors and experiment with the levels of active ingredients.

Although the research remains at an early stage the findings are of sufficient interest to consider a potential treatment.

The research has been published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience. The research is titled “Tau Derived Hexapeptide AcPHF6 Promotes Beta-Amyloid (Aβ) Fibrillogenesis.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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