New treatment could potentially cure Alzheimer's disease

[Applause] researchers have found a potentially groundbreaking Alzheimer's treatment and it all starts with two medicines that exists to treat something else entirely University of Waterloo professor Praveena Carr made the discovery that two medicines often used to treat depression and other mood disorders may be able to slow Alzheimer's advancement as well as limiting the effects of dementia the two drugs are called fluoxetine and paroxetine you likely know about fluoxetine though perhaps not by that name it's often sold under the brand name Prozac it's a popular antidepressant and is also used to treat patients with OCD bulimia nervosa panic disorder and other mood disorders both fluoxetine and paroxetine are medications classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with Alzheimer's in order to understand this you have to know a bit about our current understanding of Alzheimer's disease as of right now it is believed that one of the primary causes of Alzheimer's disease is when amyloid beta proteins group up to form a plaque like substance in the brain which hinders neurons abilities to communicate with one another the car and his team at the University of Waterloo discovered that SSRIs are effective at limiting the abilities of these amyloid beta proteins to bond together in fact they are so effective that the cars team estimates Alzheimer's development could be pushed back by up to three years of medications are administered early enough the link between SSRIs which are often used to treat depression and their effectiveness in treating Alzheimer's isn't entirely non-intuitive as Alzheimer's and depression aren't totally separate from one another it turns out there is a pretty significant overlap between the two disorders as roughly 30 percent of Alzheimer's patients also suffer from depression and other research has shown that just like in Alzheimer's patients the brains of clinically depressed people display a build-up of amyloid beta proteins even though these medications aren't exactly cures for Alzheimer's the discovery is an important step in finding medicinal treatments for the disorder because these medications already exist and have been tested they provide a great foundation for further research and development Nakara says his team would like to study the chemical structures of SSRIs and use them as a sort of blueprint to help guide future drug development this is an especially good thing as the development of new drugs can cost billions of dollars and many of those drugs may not see widespread clinical trials regardless of how effective these specific medications are for treating the disorder the prospect of using them to kick-start focused research and development of new drugs gives hope to the millions of people around the world who suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia


  1. A very misleading title.
    It's a step towards a potential treatment, not cure. We still don't actually know what causes Alzheimer's. There's some special speculation that it's type three diabetes. But we just don't know.

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