Drugs to treat erectile dysfunction may be associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to an observational study of nearly 270,000 men, published in Neurology. The research does not prove that these drugs reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, but only shows an association.
Reactions: five cases of Alzheimer's described that may have been transmitted by growth hormone treatments from cadavers
Researchers have described five cases of people in the UK who developed Alzheimer's-like dementia after being treated as children with growth hormone from cadavers. The treatment was administered between 60 and 40 years ago. This suggests that the disease could be transmitted. However, the authors point out that this is a very rare occurrence and could have been caused by repeated exposure to a type of hormone that is no longer used. The results are published in the journal Nature Medicine.
In a press release last May, Eli Lilly announced positive results from a phase 3 trial of donanemab antibody therapy to treat early-stage Alzheimer's disease. Now, the study, which included 1,736 people in eight countries over an 18-month period, is published in the journal JAMA and shows that, in some cases, clinical progression of the disease was slowed.
The drug lecanemab (Leqembi™) has received full approval as a treatment for early Alzheimer's disease by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after confirming its clinical benefit in a trial involving 1,795 patients. The FDA highlights the warning that in rare cases it can cause serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.
The use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause is associated with the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, even for short prescriptions before the age of 55, according to an analysis of data from the Danish national registry published in The BMJ. The research - which observes associations and cannot determine causality - also shows that the use of progesterone alone and vaginal oestrogen are not associated with the development of dementia.
An international team of scientists, led by Stanford University (United States), has designed a study to analyse the relationship between herpes zoster virus infections and the development of dementia. To do so, they took advantage of the introduction of the Zostavax vaccine against this virus in 2013 in Wales (UK), which people over the age of 80 could not receive. After reviewing data from people around this age over the following seven years, they concluded that the vaccine reduced the relative risk of dementia by 20%. According to the authors, their study, which is in prepublication form and has not been peer-reviewed, "leads to the conclusion that shingles vaccination is most likely an effective way to prevent or delay the onset of dementia".
Reaction: study shows Alzheimer's drug lecanemab helps neutralise the effects of small toxic amyloid aggregates
Research led by scientists at Harvard Medical School (USA) has isolated small aggregates of amyloid from the brains of post-mortem Alzheimer's patients. The achievement has made it possible to study the structure of these "clumps", which exist outside plaques and are considered highly toxic, and to test their effect on synapses. In addition, the authors have shown that the drug lecanemab, recently approved by the FDA, is able to bind to them and help neutralise their action. The results are published in the journal Neuron.
Reactions: Alzheimer's drug donanemab shows positive results in phase III trial, says drugmaker Eli Lilly
A press release from Eli Lilly claims that its antibody treatment, donanemab, significantly slowed cognitive and functional decline in a phase 3 study of early-stage Alzheimer's disease. The results have not yet been published in a scientific journal.
Swedish research involving more than 6,000 male footballers in the country's top division (between 1924 and 2019) indicates that they were 1.5 times more likely to develop a neurodegenerative disease compared to the population analysed who were not involved in professional football. Unlike outfield players, goalkeepers did not have this increased risk, which, according to the authors, supports the hypothesis that impacts to the head when striking the ball could explain the increased risk. The study is published in The Lancet Public Health.
Artificial intelligence algorithms using ChatGPT - the OpenAI company's GPT-3 language model - can identify speech features to predict the early stages of Alzheimer's disease with 80 per cent accuracy. The neurodegenerative disease causes a loss of the ability to express oneself that the algorithms could recognise, according to the journal PLOS Digital Health.