Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | epilespy | drug | memory | loss | alzheimer

Epilepsy Drug May Reverse Memory Loss: Johns Hopkins

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 03:27 PM

A drug commonly used to treat epilepsy has shown promise in restoring brain function and reversing memory loss in early Alzheimer's disease.

The findings suggest the drug — levetiracetam — could offer a new therapeutic approach for elderly patients who are at high risk for dementia due to early-onset Alzheimer's disease, said Johns Hopkins University researchers who conducted the study.

The drug calms hyperactivity in the brain of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) — a condition in which memory impairment is greater than expected for a person's age that flags people at risk for Alzheimer's dementia.

The findings, published in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical, confirm the conclusions of an earlier Johns Hopkins study involving laboratory animals.

Lead researcher Michela Gallagher explained that over-activity in certain regions of the brain is common in people with aMCI.

"What we've shown is that very low doses of the atypical antiepileptic levetiracetam reduces this over-activity," Gallagher said, whose team assessed the drug’s effectiveness in 84 patients. "At the same time, it improves memory performance on a task that depends on the hippocampus."

Researchers found low doses of the drug improved memory performance and normalized the over-activity detected by brain scans during a memory task.

"What we want to discover now, is whether treatment over a longer time will prevent further cognitive decline and delay or stop progression to Alzheimer's dementia," Gallagher said.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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A drug used to treat epilepsy has shown promise in restoring brain function and reversing memory loss in early Alzheimer's disease.
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2015-27-11
Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 03:27 PM
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