Health Headlines: Alzheimer’s research

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:29 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, and only one currently FDA-approved drug that stops the progression in some cases, there are now two cutting-edge treatments that researchers are hoping could soon be added to treatment plans.

Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS, has been used to control symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, and people with essential tremors.

Now, researchers at UT Health in San Antonio are testing DBS on Alzheimer’s patients by implanting wires and stimulating the fibers of the Fornix, the part of the brain responsible for memory.

Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin is a Neurologist and Psychiatrist at UT Health who explained, “By increasing the flow of information, in that track, we might improve the ability of a person to retain new information.”

Scientists are also studying a new therapy involving the whole exchange of blood. It may decrease Amyloid Plaques in the brain, which are believed to have a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. The researchers gave repeated blood transfusions to specifically bred mice and found their Amyloid Plaques decreased anywhere from 40% to 80%.

The shared scientific goal? Bringing basic science to human clinical trial.

Dr. de Erausquin says, “If we can prove efficacy for this, that doesn’t have any effective treatments now, it really will be a massive improvement in our toolbox to treat the disease.”

According to national statistics, Alzheimer’s kills more Americans every year than breast and prostate cancer combined.