Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's

Hormone therapy for breast cancer has a protective effect against dementia in over-65s

Hormonal therapy to treat breast cancer is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in women over 65, a study says. The retrospective analysis is based on data from more than 18,000 women with breast cancer in the US: two-thirds of them had received hormone therapy and one-third had not. The "protective effect" of hormone therapy declines with age and varies by ethnicity, adds the article published in JAMA Network Open

 

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A single copy of a protective gene variant helps delay early Alzheimer's disease

A family of more than 1,000 members with origins in Colombia has a mutation called "paisa" that leads to the development of Alzheimer's disease. In 2019, an added mutation in the apoE gene called "Christchurch" was described as conferring strong protection to an individual carrying two copies of it. Now, a study has found that 27 family members carry a single copy and that it is also associated with some degree of protection. According to the authors, who publish their findings in the journal NEJM, the discovery could be used to develop new treatments for the disease. 

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Reactions: Spanish researchers propose new genetic form of Alzheimer's disease

Genetic forms of Alzheimer's are considered to be those in which certain variants of a gene inevitably lead to the disease over time. Until now, only rare alterations in three genes were considered as such. A group of researchers led by the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona has proposed a new, much more frequent form. After analysing data from more than three thousand donated brains and clinical data from more than ten thousand patients, they found that almost all people who carry two copies of the ApoE4 variant in the ApoE gene, which was previously only considered a risk factor, also end up developing the disease.They publish the results in the journal Nature Medicine.  

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Reactions: use of erectile dysfunction drugs associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer's in men

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.

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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.

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Reactions: Pharma's Eli Lilly publishes results of phase 3 trial of Alzheimer's drug donanemab

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.

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Reactions to the approval of lecanemab for the treatment of Alzheimer's patients in the US

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.

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Reactions: study associates hormone therapy for menopause with possible development of dementia

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.

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Reactions: pre-publication claims part of dementia cases are caused by herpes-like viruses

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".

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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.

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