Tags: epilepsy | drug | alzheimer

Epilepsy Drug Reverses Memory Loss

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:44 PM

A federally approved anti-epileptic drug has been found to reverse memory loss and alleviates other Alzheimer's-related symptoms, in new laboratory tests involving animals.
Scientists at the independent Gladstone Institutes determined the commonly prescribed epilepsy drug levetiracetam suppresses abnormal brain activity and restores memory function in mice.
The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest the drug may offer Alzheimer’s patients another option to slow the disease’s progression.
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"For the millions of people suffering from Alzheimer's worldwide, we have no effective drug to prevent or reverse memory loss – the hallmark symptom of this ultimately fatal disease," said researcher Dr. Lennart Mucke, who directs neurological research at Gladstone and teaches neuroscience at the University of California-San Francisco.
"This study builds on our earlier findings linking Alzheimer's and epilepsy. It provides new insights into the processes underlying memory loss in Alzheimer's and demonstrates the ability of an anti-epileptic drug to block these processes."
To reach their conclusions, Mucke and colleagues tested the effects of seven anti-epilepsy drugs on mice genetically modified to simulate key aspects of Alzheimer's disease. When the Gladstone scientists administered levetiracetam to the mice, abnormal network activity in their brains dropped by 50 percent in less than a day. Additional improvements were noted after two weeks. What’s more, the mice also demonstrated better learning and memory in a maze test.
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"We are now building on these findings and working to identify the precise mechanism by which this drug reduces brain-network dysfunction and improves memory in our mouse models," said lead researcher Dr. Pascal Sanchez.
The researchers noted there are no medications that can prevent, halt or reverse Alzheimer's, which afflicts 5.4 million Americans – a figure expected to nearly triple by 2050.
Recent research by Johns Hopkins University also found beneficial effects of levetiracetam in a small group of patients with mild cognitive impairment.

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An anti-epileptic drug has been found to reverse memory loss and other Alzheimer's-related symptoms.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:44 PM
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